Definition of millennium in US English:



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

    • ‘Many, many people in the last two millenniums got into my way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The military history of ancient Egypt spanned three millennia, spanning the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages.’
    • ‘The last millennium still had a couple years to go.’
    • ‘We are now entering the third millennium and we are about to collide with a post-modern, post-Christian world.’
    • ‘However, the second millennium of Christianity was one marked by deep and painful divisions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For the first millennium of Christianity, the college as we know it did not exist.’
    • ‘On the other hand, it is also rather weak on the later centuries of the first millennium of the Christian era.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Although the area is rife with archaeological finds spanning millennia, neglect has deterred visitors.’
    • ‘Archaeological evidence dating back to the third millennium B.C.E. indicates that the main island probably was settled by Sumerians.’
    • ‘There can be no better time to have a wildly optimistic outlook than at the birth of a new millennium.’
    • ‘Lastly, the hatred and contempt of the past two millennia add a formidable barrier to authentic communication.’
    • ‘However, there are records of a similar nature written down by disparate civilizations over the last three millennia.’
    • ‘The new millennium was marked by special awards.’
    1. 1.1the millenniumChristian Theology The prophesied thousand-year reign of Christ at the end of the age (Rev. 20:1–5).
      • ‘They viewed the Civil War as the beginning of the ‘wars and rumors of wars’ that were prophesied would proceed the millennium.’
      • ‘But we discover that the commission given in Matthew 28: 18-20 was for their ministry in 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.’
      • ‘They expect to usher in the millennium before Christ's return.’
    2. 1.2the millennium A utopian period of good government, great happiness, and prosperity.
      • ‘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.
      • ‘They began decorating their house in 1999, for the millennium.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although the date of the millennium is arbitrary, it has undeniably affected how people behave.’
      • ‘As the millennium approached, the Mafia was no longer the nationally recognized and ordered threat it once was.’
      • ‘With the approach of the millennium, there was a pause in the cycle of violence.’
      • ‘From midday most of the country will be celebrating the millennium with a huge picnic.’
      • ‘My own feeling about the proper date of the millennium is that it doesn't matter.’
      • ‘As the millennium approaches, Andersson's characters find their world falling apart around them, with few options as their sanity begins to slip away.’
      • ‘Does the millennium begin with the year ending in zero or in one?’
      • ‘But fifty years is a long time, he added; the millennium was approaching.’


The spelling of millennium is less difficult if one remembers that it comes ultimately from two Latin words containing double letters: mille, ‘thousand,’ and annum, ‘year.’


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