• synonyms


[si-loo r-ee-uh n, sahy-]
  1. of or relating to the Silures or their country.
  2. Geology. noting or pertaining to a period of the Paleozoic Era, occurring from 425 to 405 million years ago, notable for the advent of air-breathing animals and terrestrial plants.
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  1. Geology. the Silurian Period or System of rocks.
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Origin of Silurian

First recorded in 1700–10; Silur(es) + -ian
Related formspost-Si·lu·ri·an, adjectivepre-Si·lu·ri·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for silurian

Historical Examples of silurian

  • The banks of the brook at this spot are composed of purple-brown slate (Silurian).

    Explorations in Australia

    John Forrest

  • There are remains in the Silurian which show that there must have been a few fishes at that time.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • So the old Silurian seas were opened up to breed the fish in.

  • He was already old in society, and belonged to the Silurian horizon.

  • The Wenlock limestone (Silurian) contains an abundance of corals.

British Dictionary definitions for silurian


  1. of, denoting, or formed in the third period of the Palaeozoic era, between the Ordovician and Devonian periods, which lasted for 25 million years, during which fishes first appeared
  2. of or relating to the Silures
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  1. the Silurian the Silurian period or rock system
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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 silurian



1708, "pertaining to the Silures," from Latin Silures "ancient British tribe inhabiting southeast Wales." Geological sense is from 1835, coined by Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) because rocks of this period are especially frequent in Wales.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

silurian in Science


  1. The third period of the Paleozoic Era, from about 438 to 408 million years ago. During this time glaciers that formed during the late Ordovician melted, causing sea levels to rise. The first coral reefs, fish with jaws, and freshwater fish appeared, and jawless fish continued to spread rapidly. The first vascular plants also appeared, as did land invertebrates including relatives of spiders and centipedes. See Chart at geologic time.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.