Definition of Pleistocene in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the first epoch of the Quaternary period, between the Pliocene and Holocene epochs.

    The Pleistocene epoch lasted from 1,640,000 to about 10,000 years ago. It was marked by great fluctuations in temperature that caused the ice ages, with glacial periods followed by warmer interglacial periods. Several extinct forms of human, forerunners of modern humans, appeared during this epoch

    • ‘In Japan, decapods associated with coral reef deposits were described in Miocene and Pliocene and Pleistocene rocks.’
    • ‘What is most difficult in tectonic geomorphological studies is to establish the late Pleistocene - Holocene chronology.’
    • ‘It strongly supports Pliocene and Pleistocene australopithecines being ancestral not to humans but to modern African pongids.’
    • ‘First, no haplotypes are shared between Holocene and Pleistocene spotted hyenas.’
    • ‘In general, species richness in the Miocene and Pliocene was high whereas Pleistocene and Recent diversity is very low.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Pleistocene The Pleistocene epoch or the system of deposits laid down during it.


Mid 19th century: from Greek pleistos ‘most’ + kainos ‘new’.