Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or being the period of geologic time from about 145 to 65 million years ago, the third and most recent period of the Mesozoic Era. The Cretaceous Period is characterized by the formation of modern continents from the supercontinent Pangaea and by the development of flowering plants. The Period ended with the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs and many other forms of life.
  • adjective Of, containing, or resembling chalk.
  • noun The Cretaceous Period.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In botany: Chalky, or having chalk-glands, as in some species of Saxifraga.
  • Of a chalky color; dead-white.
  • Chalky.
  • Found in chalk; found in strata of the cretaceous group.
  • noun [capitalized] In geology, the cretaceous group.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having the qualities of chalk; abounding with chalk; chalky. See chalk.
  • adjective (Geol.) Of, pertaining to, or designating, the period of time following the Jurassic and preceding the Tertiary, generally given as from 144 million years b. p. to 65 million years b. p.. Also called Cre*tac"ic.
  • adjective an old name for carbonic acid.
  • adjective (Geol.) the series of strata of various kinds, including beds of chalk, green sand, etc., formed in the Cretaceous period; -- called also the chalk formation. See the Diagram under Geology.
  • adjective (Geol.) the time in the latter part of the Mesozoic age during which the Cretaceous formation was deposited, and at the end of which the dinosaurs died out. See Cretaceous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun geology The geologic period within the Mesozoic era that comprises lower and upper epochs from about 146 to 65 million years ago

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective abounding in chalk
  • noun from 135 million to 63 million years ago; end of the age of reptiles; appearance of modern insects and flowering plants
  • adjective of or relating to or denoting the third period of the Mesozoic era

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Latin crētāceus, chalky, from crēta, chalk, from Crēta (terra), Cretan (earth).]

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