Definition of Holocene in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the present epoch, which is the second epoch in the Quaternary period and followed the Pleistocene.

    The Holocene epoch has lasted from about 10,000 years ago to the present day. It covers the period since the ice retreated after the last glaciation and it is sometimes regarded as just another interglacial period

    Also called "Recent"
    • ‘Woolly mammoths, which are now extinct, lived from the Pleistocene to the early Holocene period from about 120,000 to 4,000 years ago.’
    • ‘In the Holocene period, about 10,000 BC, massive, raised peat bogs grew on top of the coastal plains.’
    • ‘At that point, around the time of the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene, a rapid warming began the shift toward modern climatic conditions.’
    • ‘In the United States, stark latitudinal changes in vegetative cover were prominent during the transition from Pleistocene to Holocene conditions.’
    • ‘A similar pattern of sedimentation is apparent for the last interglacial and Holocene records.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Holocene The Holocene epoch or the system of deposits laid down during this time.


Late 19th century: coined in French from holo- ‘whole’ + Greek kainos ‘new’.