Definitions

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

  • noun A species of extinct hominins (Homo neanderthalensis) that lived throughout most of Europe and western and central Asia during the late Pleistocene Epoch until about 30,000 years ago. Members of this species had a large skull and stocky build and are associated with Middle Paleolithic tools.
  • noun An individual belonging to this species.
  • noun Slang A crude, boorish, or slow-witted person.
  • adjective Of, having to do with, or resembling Neanderthals.
  • adjective Slang Crude, boorish, or slow-witted.

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

  • adjective (Anthropol.) Of, pertaining to, or named from, the Neanderthal, a valley in the Rhine Province, in which were found parts of a skeleton of an early type of man. The skull is characterized by extreme dolichocephaly, flat, retreating forehead, with closed frontal sutures, and enormous superciliary ridges. The cranial capacity is estimated at about 1,220 cubic centimeters, being about midway between that of the Pithecanthropus and modern man.
  • adjective Similar to or reminiscent of a neanderthal human; troglodytic; primitive and uncultured.
  • proper noun (Anthropol.) A neanderthal human being; a member of the race Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
  • proper noun One resembling a neanderthal human; a troglodyte; a cave man.
  • proper noun A person of primitive, unenlightened or uneducated opinions or attitudes; one with a regressive social or political outlook; -- used disparagingly.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Homines neanderthalenses.
  • adjective Old-fashioned, opposed to change (in allusion to Homo neanderthalensis).
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the Neander Valley in Germany.
  • noun A specimen of the now extinct species Homo neanderthalensis.
  • noun pejorative A primitive person.

Etymologies

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

[After Neanderthal, (Neandertal), a valley of western Germany near Düsseldorf where remains of these humans were found in 1856.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the name of the German valley where Neanderthal 1 was discovered in 1856. The Düsseltal (from German Düssel, a small tributary of the River Rhine + tal ("valley")) itself was renamed (from Das Gesteins ("The Rockiness") and/or Das Hundsklipp ("The Cliff of Dogs")) in the early 19th century to Neandershöhle ("Neander’s Hollow"), and again in 1850 to Neanderthal ("Neander Valley"); both names were in honour of the German Calvinist theologian and hymn writer Joachim Neander (1650–1680). The surname Neander is a Romanisation of the Greek translation of the original German surname Neumann ("New man"), for which reason Homo neanderthalensis is sometimes called New man in English.

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