from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective uncouth in manners or appearance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Primitive, old-fashioned, opposed to change (in allusion to the now extinct species Homo neanderthalensis).
  • noun pejorative A primitive person or a person with old-fashioned ideas or who opposes change.
  • noun A specimen of the now extinct species Homo neanderthalensis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective ill-mannered and coarse and contemptible in behavior or appearance
  • adjective relating to or belonging to or resembling Neanderthal man
  • noun extinct robust human of Middle Paleolithic in Europe and western Asia


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the name of the German valley where Neanderthal 1 was discovered in 1856. The Düsseltal (from German Düssel, a small tributary of the River Rhine + tal ("valley")) itself was renamed (from Das Gesteins ("The Rockiness") and/or Das Hundsklipp ("The Cliff of Dogs")) in the early 19th century to Neandershöhle ("Neander’s Hollow"), and again in 1850 to Neanderthal ("Neander Valley"); both names were in honour of the German Calvinist theologian and hymn writer Joachim Neander (1650–1680). The surname Neander is a Romanisation of the Greek translation of the original German surname Neumann ("New man"), for which reason Homo neanderthalensis is sometimes called New man in English.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word neanderthal.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • From 1674-1679, Joachim Neander was a school principal and preacher in a valley near Dusseldof, Germany, which had numerous caves, grottos and waterfalls. He wrote many church hymns there, and in the 19th century, the entire valley was called the Neander Valley (in German, Neanderthal). Thus Joachim Neander the distinction of being the only hymnist with a fossil homind named after him, "The Neanderthal Man!"

    June 26, 2009