Definition of millennium in English:



  • 1A period of a thousand years, especially when calculated from the traditional date of the birth of Christ.

    ‘silver first came into use on a substantial scale during the 3rd millennium BC’
    • ‘The military history of ancient Egypt spanned three millennia, spanning the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages.’
    • ‘However, the second millennium of Christianity was one marked by deep and painful divisions.’
    • ‘Although the area is rife with archaeological finds spanning millennia, neglect has deterred visitors.’
    • ‘However, there are records of a similar nature written down by disparate civilizations over the last three millennia.’
    • ‘For the first millennium of Christianity, the college as we know it did not exist.’
    • ‘The new millennium was marked by special awards.’
    • ‘Some of her archaeologist husband's finds can be seen in the museum, which is a must if you want to grasp the sophistication of Syrian art and civilisation of the two millenniums before Christ.’
    • ‘Lastly, the hatred and contempt of the past two millennia add a formidable barrier to authentic communication.’
    • ‘We are now entering the third millennium and we are about to collide with a post-modern, post-Christian world.’
    • ‘Archaeological evidence dating back to the third millennium B.C.E. indicates that the main island probably was settled by Sumerians.’
    • ‘The last millennium still had a couple years to go.’
    • ‘At the beginning of the first millennium of the Christian era, synagogues were all-purpose buildings for assembly in village and town.’
    • ‘Even something as monumental as the birth of a new millennium couldn't in the end live up to all of the hype.’
    • ‘The last two decades are believed to be the warmest of the past millennium, and temperature rises in the last few years point to hotter times ahead.’
    • ‘On the other hand, it is also rather weak on the later centuries of the first millennium of the Christian era.’
    • ‘Many, many people in the last two millenniums got into my way.’
    • ‘What does an Oriental seer, born in the middle of the first millennium before Christ among historical circumstances and a culture so different from our own, have to offer such very modern thinkers?’
    • ‘Born in the last year of the Victorian era, she lived to see in the new millennium after a century of turbulence and profound social change.’
    • ‘There can be no better time to have a wildly optimistic outlook than at the birth of a new millennium.’
    • ‘The first millennium was the first era when most of the world was settled, and the first time immigration and travel created a robust communication network.’
    1. 1.1the millenniumChristian Theology The prophesied thousand-year reign of Christ at the end of the age (Rev. 20:1–5)
      ‘Archer's treatise predicted that the millennium was close at hand’
      • ‘They expect to usher in the millennium before Christ's return.’
      • ‘But we discover that the commission given in Matthew 28: 18-20 was for their ministry in the millennium.’
      • ‘They viewed the Civil War as the beginning of the ‘wars and rumors of wars’ that were prophesied would proceed the millennium.’
      • ‘It takes its name from the early Christians' anticipation of Christ's Second Coming, to be followed by a millennium, or thousand-year reign of peace and tranquillity.’
      • ‘Constantine's conversion had been very welcome, but had not introduced the millennium.’
    2. 1.2the millennium A utopian period of justice, peace, and prosperity.
      ‘the people must seize power—the millennium cannot be imposed on them from above’
      • ‘No narrow patriotism of race, country or religion will stand in the way of the millennium of universal peace.’
  • 2An anniversary of a thousand years.

    ‘the millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church’
    1. 2.1the millennium The point at which one period of a thousand years ends and another begins.
      ‘as we approach the millennium the only certainty is change’
      • ‘They began decorating their house in 1999, for the millennium.’
      • ‘As the millennium approaches, Andersson's characters find their world falling apart around them, with few options as their sanity begins to slip away.’
      • ‘Although the date of the millennium is arbitrary, it has undeniably affected how people behave.’
      • ‘From midday most of the country will be celebrating the millennium with a huge picnic.’
      • ‘As we approach the millennium it seems an appropriate time for OLOC to take stock, to reflect and review where we want to go and how.’
      • ‘My own feeling about the proper date of the millennium is that it doesn't matter.’
      • ‘With the approach of the millennium, there was a pause in the cycle of violence.’
      • ‘Does the millennium begin with the year ending in zero or in one?’
      • ‘With the millennium approaching, his aim was to persuade the human population of the entire planet that, for 24 hours, they should stop killing each other.’
      • ‘But fifty years is a long time, he added; the millennium was approaching.’
      • ‘As the millennium approached, the Mafia was no longer the nationally recognized and ordered threat it once was.’


The correct spelling is millennium not millenium. The latter is a common error, formed by analogy with other similar words correctly spelled with only one n, such as millenarian and millenary. The differences in spelling are explained by different origins. Millennium was formed by analogy with words like biennium, while millenary and millenarian were formed from the Latin milleni


Mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Latin mille ‘thousand’, on the pattern of biennium.