AskDefine | Define archaic

Dictionary Definition

archaic adj
1 so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period; "a ramshackle antediluvian tenement"; "antediluvian ideas"; "archaic laws" [syn: antediluvian, antiquated]
2 little evolved from or characteristic of an earlier ancestral type; "archaic forms of life"; "primitive mammals"; "the okapi is a short-necked primitive cousin of the giraffe" [syn: primitive]

User Contributed Dictionary



Ancient Greek αρχαικός (archaikos) "old-fashioned", from αρχαίος (archaios) "from the beginning, antiquated, ancient, old", from αρχή (archê) "beginning, origin, at first, anew, afresh", from άρχω (archô) "to be first".


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. In the context of "of words": no longer in ordinary use, though still used occasionally to give a sense of antiquity.
    1898 Brann's compass of words, idioms and phrases harks back to the archaic and reaches forward to the futuristic.— William Cowper Brann, ''The Complete Works of Brann the Iconoclast, Volume 1.''

Derived terms


old-fashioned or antiquated


Extensive Definition

Archaic may refer to a period of time preceding a "classical period":
Archaic may also refer to:
  • Archaic (comic), a comic-book series created by writer James Abrams and artist Brett Marting
archaic in Indonesian: Arkais

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Gothic, Victorian, abandoned, abjured, antediluvian, antiquated, antique, behind the times, bygone, classical, dated, deserted, discontinued, disused, done with, fossil, fossilized, grown old, medieval, mid-Victorian, not worth saving, obsolescent, obsolete, of other times, old, old-fashioned, old-timey, old-world, on the shelf, out, out of use, out-of-date, outdated, outmoded, outworn, passe, past use, pensioned off, petrified, relinquished, renounced, resigned, retired, superannuate, superannuated, superseded, undeveloped, worn-out
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