Definition of medieval in English:


(also mediaeval)

Pronunciation /ˌmɛdɪˈiːv(ə)l//ˌmɛdˈiːv(ə)l/


  • 1Relating to the Middle Ages.

    ‘a medieval castle’
    • ‘The wall and the Roman streets influenced the layout of medieval Colchester.’
    • ‘Many of the churches and cathedrals that survive from medieval times have also had additions to them.’
    • ‘A person in East Anglia will be within striking distance of a medieval church.’
    • ‘We are only now beginning to see how much survived of Roman and Celtic culture in the early medieval period.’
    • ‘However, the relative value of silver today is in fact far lower than in early medieval times.’
    • ‘The settlement has Iron Age antecedents and was used as a cemetery in early medieval times.’
    • ‘Most other cruel medieval practices have been stopped for a long time, and this was long overdue.’
    • ‘In the medieval period, the road was realigned slightly to become modern Fenchurch Street.’
    • ‘Indeed, Ireland has the largest corpus of early medieval water mill sites in the world.’
    • ‘The authority of the early medieval Church in England was no different to that of any other landowner.’
    • ‘It was a long, narrow strip of land and on the rocky coast at its southern end was a medieval castle.’
    • ‘The medieval pottery and iron tools speak more of hard work and modest prosperity than of exotic trade links.’
    • ‘In early medieval times, the court, or household, was the centre of government.’
    • ‘The inferno could be seen for 40 miles, and the medieval city centre was destroyed.’
    • ‘One story told in medieval times was that an arrow fired from a long bow could penetrate four inches into oak.’
    • ‘Later, largely as a reaction to the cruel excesses of mediaeval witchhunts, when victims were burnt at the stake, the Vatican introduced a formalised exorcism ritual in 1614.’
    • ‘Despite all this, until recently little was known about medieval ships and shipbuilding.’
    • ‘There are still unanswered questions about the formation of early medieval villages.’
    • ‘The top of the hill was occupied in medieval times, presumably because of its defensive potential.’
    • ‘Roads in medieval Britain often followed the line of Roman roads for substantial distances.’
    of the middle ages, middle age, of the dark ages, dark-age, 11th to 14th century, 6th to 14th century, gothic, early
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    1. 1.1informal Resembling or likened to the Middle Ages, especially in being cruel, uncivilized, or primitive.
      ‘without other people around I would let my flat degenerate into medieval levels of squalor’
      primitive, antiquated, prehistoric, archaic, antique, antediluvian, old-fashioned, out of date, outdated, outmoded, anachronistic, passé, obsolescent, obsolete
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Early 19th century: from modern Latin medium aevum ‘middle age’ + -al.