Definition of Pliocene in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the last epoch of the Tertiary period, between the Miocene and Pleistocene epochs.

    The Pliocene epoch lasted from 5.2 million to 1.64 million years ago. Temperatures were falling at this time and many mammals became extinct. The first hominids, including Australopithecus and Homo habilis, appeared

    • ‘The fossils from the formation represent organisms that thrived during the Pliocene epoch, at the end of the Tertiary period.’
    • ‘Miocene to middle Pliocene species are widely distributed in Europe, Africa, Australia, North and South America.’
    • ‘The sediments recovered are of Early Pleistocene to Late Pliocene age.’
    • ‘Nevertheless whatever the cause of folding in the Miocene sediments, the important point is that the Pliocene sediments have no sign of similar deformation and unconformably overlie the Miocene.’
    • ‘These species are widely distributed in Upper Miocene and Pliocene deposits in tropical America, forming a morphologically distinctive group.’
    1. 1.1as noun the Pliocene The Pliocene epoch or the system of rocks deposited during it.


Mid 19th century: from Greek pleiōn ‘more’ + kainos ‘new’.