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Neanderthal (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 of a big, brutish, stupid person from 1926. They were extinct by about 35,000 years ago. That they interbred with modern humans was long debated and denied, but DNA analysis settled the question in 2013: They did.

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