Definitions

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

  • adj. Belonging to the first or earliest age or ages; original or ancient: a primeval forest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Belonging to the first ages.
  • adj. Primary; original.
  • adj. Primitive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Belonging to the first ages; pristine; original; primitive; primary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or belonging to the first ages; original; primal; primitive.
  • Synonyms Primitive, etc. See primary.

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

  • adj. having existed from the beginning; in an earliest or original stage or state

Etymologies

From Latin prīmaevus, early in life : prīmus, first; see per1 in Indo-European roots + aevum, age; see aiw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From primevous + -al. Further, primevous, from Latin primaevus ("in the first or earliest period of life"), from primus ("first") + aevum ("time, age"); see prime and age. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Herbert urged that he must at least admit that there was a freshness of legend and poetry in what we call the primeval peoples that is wanting now; the mythic period is gone, at any rate.

    Backlog Studies

  • There might have been more heroic characters at the siege of Troy than Abraham Lincoln, but there was not one more strongly marked individually; not one his superior in what we call primeval craft and humor.

    Backlog Studies

  • Martian civilization had burrowed underground at some point in primeval history, after the oceans, lakes, and rivers had dried up.

    The Spy

  • March 26, 2009 at 5: 16 am primeval is the best and the the animals are the best

    Tonight on Primeval: Raptors : SF Universe - SF Universe is your Science Fiction central. From SciFi television to movies to books and more. All the latest news, reviews and insights from SciFi experts.

  • Instead of the prime vegetables more fittingly described by the word primeval, artfully displayed in the window for the delectation of the military man and his fellow country-woman the nursemaid, honest

    A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

  • Instead of the prime vegetables more fittingly described by the word primeval, artfully displayed in the window for the delectation of the military man and his fellow country-woman the nursemaid, honest Flicoteaux exhibited full salad-bowls adorned with many a rivet, or pyramids of stewed prunes to rejoice the sight of the customer, and assure him that the word

    Lost Illusions

  • The patio of his hotel room opened onto an immaculate, dew-fresh lawn, shaded by massive mango and apple trees, that descended gently to the edge of what can only be described as a primeval forest.

    Here Comes Another Lesson

  • First, that in this great continent of Africa, with its ancient civilisations which some of us ought to be able to appreciate more than we have done in the past, we are not dealing with what may be called a primeval state of affairs.

    STATEMENT IN THE SPECIAL POLITICAL COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  • It lay between him and what he called the "first heavy growth;" that is, the primeval forest, unthinned by axe of man, which at certain points clothes the foot of

    Camp and Trail A Story of the Maine Woods

  • It is something to secure to the student or the clerk the strong muscles, hearty appetite, and sound sleep of the sailor and the ploughman, -- to enable him, if need be, to out-row the fisherman, and out-run the mountaineer, and lift more than his porter, and to remember head-ache and dyspepsia only as he recalls the primeval whooping-cough of his childhood.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 07, No. 41, March, 1861

Comments

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  • The smell of mud, of primeval mud, by Jove! was in my nostrils, the high stillness of the primeval forest was before my eyes.
    --Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

    March 9, 2011