- of or relating to Neanderthal man.
- (often lowercase) Informal. primitive, unenlightened, or reactionary; culturally or intellectually backward.
- Neanderthal man.
- (often lowercase) Informal.
- an unenlightened or ignorant person; barbarian.
- a reactionary; a person with very old-fashioned ideas.
- relating to or characteristic of Neanderthal man
- primitive; uncivilized
- informal ultraconservative; reactionary
- a person showing any such characteristics
adj.1861, in reference to a type of extinct hominid, from German Neanderthal “Neander Valley,” name of a gorge near Düsseldorf where humanoid fossils were identified in 1856. The place name is from the Graecized form of Joachim Neumann (literally “new man,” Greek *neo-ander), 1650-1680, German pastor, poet and hymn-writer, who made this a favorite spot in the 1670s. Adopting a classical form of one’s surname was a common practice among educated Germans in this era. As a noun, by 1915; as a type f a big, brutish, stupid person from 1926.
- An extinct variety of human that lived throughout Europe and in parts of western Asia and northern Africa during the late Pleistocene Epoch, until about 30,000 years ago. Neanderthals had a stocky build and large skulls with thick eyebrow ridges and big teeth. They usually lived in caves, made flaked stone tools, and were the earliest humans known to bury their dead. Neanderthals were either a subspecies of modern humans (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or a separate, closely related species (Homo neanderthalensis). They coexisted with early modern humans (Cro-Magnons) for several thousand years before becoming extinct, but are not generally believed to have interbred with them. See also Mousterian.
The ancient and now extinct relatives of modern humans. Neanderthals lived in Europe about 150,000 years ago and were the earliest form of the human species, Homo sapiens.