Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 12, 2020 is:

antediluvian • an-tih-dih-LOO-vee-un  • adjective

1 : of or relating to the period before the flood described in the Bible

2 a : made, evolved, or developed a long time ago

b : extremely primitive or outmoded


“But in the White Mountains grow the oldest trees on Earth, the gnarled antediluvian bristlecone pines.” — Nick Burns, The New Statesman, 16 Sept. 2020

“The Zoom sweater is, after all, the seasonal next wardrobe step after the Zoom shirt…. For some, this may seem liberating: A final declaration of independence from the suit, and proof that after months of dressing for ourselves—and our perch in the corner of the couch—we have been freed from the constrictive suiting of white collar yesteryear (and all the antediluvian fashion rules they represent).” — Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times, 20 Aug. 2020 

Did you know?

Before there was antediluvian, there were the Latin words ante (meaning “before”) and diluvium (meaning “flood”). In the 1600s, English speakers were using antediluvian to describe conditions they believed existed before the great flood described in the biblical account of Noah and the ark. By the early 1700s, the word had come to be used as both an adjective and a noun referring to anything or anyone prodigiously old. Naturalist Charles Darwin used it to characterize the mighty “antediluvian trees” some prehistoric mammals might have used as a food source, and in his American Notes, Charles Dickens described an elderly lady who informed him, “It is an extremely proud and pleasant thing … to be an antediluvian.”

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