or pri·mae·val



of or relating to the first age or ages, especially of the world: primeval forms of life.

Origin of primeval

1765–75; < Latin prīmaev(us) young (prīm(us) prime + aev(um) age + -us adj. suffix) + -al1
Related formspri·me·val·ly, adverb
Can be confusedprimal primeval primordial

Synonyms for primeval Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for primeval

Contemporary Examples of primeval

Historical Examples of primeval

  • In the heart of a primeval forest we could not feel more alone.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Or would the planet revert to a primeval state of mindless innocence?

  • Indeed, at that time the settlements had not reached into this then primeval wilderness.


    Samuel T. Pickard

  • For these giants of the primeval forest he ever had a loving admiration.


    Samuel T. Pickard

  • It brought Pedro in with an extraordinary, uncouth, primeval impetuosity.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for primeval




of or belonging to the first age or ages, esp of the world
Derived Formsprimevally or primaevally, adverb

Word Origin for primeval

C17: from Latin prīmaevus youthful, from prīmus first + aevum age
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for primeval

also primaeval, 1650s, with -al (1) + Latin primaevus "early in life, youthful," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + aevum "an age" (see eon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper