- The definition of archaic is something being old or from a previous time period.
An example of something archaic is a rotary phone.
- belonging to an earlier period; ancient
- antiquated; old-fashioned
- that has ceased to be used except for special purposes, as in poetry, church ritual, etc.: thou is an archaic form of you
Origin of archaicClassical Greek archaikos ; from archaios, old, ancient ; from archein, begin
- also Archaic Relating to, being, or characteristic of a much earlier, often more primitive period, especially one that develops into a classical stage of civilization: an archaic bronze statuette; Archaic Greece.
- No longer current or applicable; antiquated: archaic laws. See Synonyms at old.
- Relating to, being, or characteristic of words and language that were once in regular use but are now relatively rare and suggestive of an earlier style or period.
- a. Relating to or being an early or premodern evolutionary form of an organism or group of organisms: archaic vertebrates.b. Relating to or being an early form of Homo sapiens or a closely related species, such as Neanderthal, that is anatomically distinct from modern humans.
- Archaic Relating to a Native American culture prevalent throughout much of North America from about 8000 BC to about 1000 BC, characterized especially by the development of Mesolithic tools and by the increased reliance on smaller game animals as the large Pleistocene mammals became extinct.
Origin of archaicGreek arkhā&idie;kos, old-fashioned, from arkhaios, ancient, from arkhē, beginning, from arkhein, to begin.
- (archaeology, US, usually capitalized) A general term for the prehistoric period intermediate between the earliest period (‘Paleo-Indian’, ‘Paleo-American’, ‘American‐paleolithic’, &c.) of human presence in the Western Hemisphere, and the most recent prehistoric period (‘Woodland’, etc.).
- (paleoanthropology) (A member of) an archaic variety of Homo sapiens.
(comparative more archaic, superlative most archaic)
From archaism (“ancient or obsolete phrase or expression”) or from French archaïque, ultimately from Ancient Greek ἀρχαικός (arkhaikos, “old-fashioned”), from ἀρχαῖος (arkhaios, “from the beginning, antiquated, ancient, old”), from ἀρχή (arkhē, “beginning, origin”), from ἄρχω (arkhō, “I am first”).