Definition of Palaeolithic in English:


(US Paleolithic)


  • 1Relating to or denoting the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years, when primitive stone implements were used.

    Compare with Mesolithic, Neolithic
    • ‘Few traces exist of the settlements of the earliest Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Southern France.’
    • ‘This would mean that a number of groups of people using early Paleolithic stone tools entered the New World at the same time as the Clovis people.’
    • ‘Permanent settlements were established in early Paleolithic times.’
    • ‘Human experience on the territory of present-day Russia dates back to Paleolithic times.’
    • ‘In Paleolithic times it was home to Stone Age hunters, who occupied the caves and left their art behind them.’
    • ‘The cave at Lascaux contains Palaeolithic drawings and paintings and is generally held to be the finest example of prehistoric art.’
    • ‘Although climate changes in Palaeolithic times 25,000 years ago began to lead to desertification, there were still summer rains in the Neolithic era.’
    • ‘Evolutionists have devised an elaborate classification system for stone tools ranging from the most primitive early Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) to the youngest, exquisitely crafted tools.’
    • ‘Like this one, Hosfield's Paleolithic study used stone tools as observation units.’
    • ‘Although I am a Palaeolithic archaeologist now, my interests were largely Roman at the time.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Palaeolithic The Palaeolithic period.
      Also called Old Stone Age


Mid 19th century: from palaeo- + Greek lithos ‘stone’ + -ic.