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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Archaic may refer to a period of time preceding a "classical period":

Archaic may also refer to:

  • Archaic (comics), a comic-book series created by writer James Abrams and artist Brett Marting
  • Archaic (band)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




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).




archaic (plural archaics), usually capitalized: Archaic

  1. (archaeology, US) A general term for the prehistoric period intermediate between the earliest period ("Paleo-Indian", "Paleo-American", "American-paleolithic", etc.) of human presence in the Western Hemisphere, and the most recent prehistoric period ("Woodland", etc.).
    1958 Wiley, Gordon R., and Philip Phillips, Method and Theory in American Archaeology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, p107:
    • [...] Archaic Stage [...] the stage of migratory hunting and gathering cultures continuing into environmental conditions approximately those of the present.


archaic (comparative more archaic, superlative most archaic)


more archaic

most archaic

  1. Of or characterized by antiquity; old-fashioned, quaint, antiquated, as an archaic word or phrase.
    1848 James Russel Lowell, The Biglow Papers:
    • A person familiar with the dialect of certain portions of Massachusetts will not fail to recognize, in ordinary discourse, many words now noted in English vocabularies as archaic, the greater part of which were in common use about the time of the King James translation of the Bible. Shakespeare stands less in need of a glossary to most New Englanders than to many a native of the Old Country.
    1887 Barcley V. Head, Historia Numorum A Manual Of Greek Numismatics:
    • There is in the best archaic coin work [of the Greeks] ... a strength and a delicacy which are often wanting in the fully developed art of a later age.
  2. (of words) No longer in ordinary use, though still used occasionally to give a sense of antiquity.
    1898 William Cowper Brann, The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast:
    • Brann's compass of words, idioms and phrases harks back to the archaic and reaches forward to the futuristic. Volume 1

Derived terms

Related terms



  • archaic in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1914
  • The New Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, 1998

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