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primeval

or pri·mae·val

[prahy-mee-vuhl]
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adjective
  1. of or relating to the first age or ages, especially of the world: primeval forms of life.
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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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

pristine, primal, primitive, primordial, prehistoric, earliest, early, first, old, original, primary

Examples from the Web for primeval

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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.

    Whittier-land

    Samuel T. Pickard

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

    Whittier-land

    Samuel T. Pickard

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

    Victory

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for primeval

primeval

primaeval

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

Word Origin

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

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper