AskDefine | Define antediluvian

Dictionary Definition

antediluvian adj
1 of or relating to the period before the Biblical flood; "Antediluvian man" [syn: antediluvial]
2 so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period; "a ramshackle antediluvian tenement"; "antediluvian ideas"; "archaic laws" [syn: antiquated, archaic]


1 any of the early patriarchs who lived prior to the Deluge [syn: antediluvian patriarch]
2 a very old (or old fashioned) person

User Contributed Dictionary



From ante- + diluvium


  1. Extremely ancient or antiquated; old.
  2. Pertaining or belonging to the time prior to Noah's Flood.
  3. Supremely dated.
    Those ideas are antediluvian.





  1. One who lived prior to Noah's Flood.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

The word antediluvian (syn.Prediluvian) (Latin for "before the deluge") is used to describe a period of time that preceded the Great Flood of Noah as related in the Book of Genesis in the Bible.

The antediluvian period

The Bible speaks of this era as being a time of great wickedness. There were Gibborim (giants) in the earth in those days as well as Nephilim; some translations identify the two as one and the same. The Gibborim were unusually powerful; Genesis calls them "heroes of old, men of renown;" (Enoshi Ha Shem). The antediluvian period ended when God sent the Flood to wipe out all life except Noah, his family, and the animals they took with them. Nevertheless, the Nephilim (literally meaning 'fallen ones', from the Hebrew root n-f-l 'to fall') reappear much later in the Biblical narrative, in Numbers 13:31-33. (However, since the Bible was not assembled in chronological order, it is possible that the related verses actually overlap time-wise).
Writers such as William Whiston (A New Theory of the Earth 1696) and Henry Morris (The Genesis Flood 1961) describe the antediluvian period as follows:
  • People lived much longer than people today, typically between 700-950 years, as reported in the genealogies of Genesis;
  • The Earth contained many more people than the Earth contained in 1696. Whiston calculated that as many as 500 million humans may have been born in the antediluvian period, based on assumptions about lifespans and fertility rates;
  • There were no clouds or rain. Instead, the Earth was watered by mists which rose from the Earth. (Another interpretation is that the Earth was covered completely by a global cloud layer; the upper waters mentioned in the Creation. This is commonly called the Canopy theory).

Other uses

  • "Antediluvian" is sometimes used figuratively to refer to anything of great age and/or outmoded; H. P. Lovecraft was particularly fond of the term, using it frequently in his horror stories.

References in popular culture

  • "Antediluvian" is the oldest Vampire in the German story of "Wolfgang Hohlbeins Schattenchronik."
  • "Antediluvian" is used to describe the "Kings of Atlantis" in the song "Atlantis" by Donovan.
  • In the of Montreal song "Rapture Rapes the Muses" Kevin Barnes sings of "antediluvian Troy"
"Into the Silent Chambers of the Sapphirean Throne (Sagas From the Antediluvian Scrolls)" is a song by Bal-Sagoth, off the album A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bronze Age man, Gothic, Hominidae, Iron Age man, Methuselah, Stone Age man, Victorian, aboriginal, aborigine, age-old, aged, ancient, ante-bellum, antemundane, anthropoid, antiquated, antique, ape-man, archaic, autochthon, back number, before the Fall, before the Flood, before the war, bushman, cave dweller, caveman, classical, conservative, dad, dodo, elder, fogy, fossil, fossil man, fossilized, fud, fuddy-duddy, granny, grown old, has-been, hoary, hominid, humanoid, longhair, man of old, matriarch, medieval, mid-Victorian, missing link, mossback, of other times, old, old believer, old crock, old dodo, old fogy, old liner, old man, old poop, old woman, old-timer, old-world, patriarch, petrified, pop, pops, pre-Aryan, pre-Christian, pre-Renaissance, pre-Roman, preadamite, preclassical, precultural, prehistoric, prehistoric man, prehuman, prelapsarian, premillenarian, premundane, prerevolutionary, preromantic, prewar, primate, primitive, protohistoric, protohuman, reactionary, regular old fogy, relic, square, starets, stick-in-the-mud, superannuated, timeworn, traditionalist, troglodyte, venerable
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