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Archaic - pronounced as three syllables, with the 'ch' as a 'k' and the stress on the second syllable 'ark-EH-ik', IPA: /ɑːr 'keɪ ɪk/ - is a word used to describe certain past styles or periods, e.g., of art or language.

  • The word in common speech usually implies a criticism, with connotations of 'old-fashioned' - although in the language of connoisseurs certain periods of art, such as the 'archaic period' of Greek statuary and pottery (i.e., the period before the period of 'classical' greatness), are highly esteemed and much desired by collectors. Twentieth century 'modernist' artists, such as Matisse and Picasso valued archaic African art highly.
  • In the field of language studies, archaic is used to describe a word, usage, or other element of language that belongs to, or has characteristics of, an earlier period in time. This sometimes refers to usage that is obsolete but recognised by all mature native speakers, such as the archaic personal pronouns 'thou' and 'thee'. Sometimes it refers to the usages of particular individuals who may be old, or pretend to be old, or use archaic terms for a specific purpose, e.g., for poetic effect.
You may want to see the list of articles in the Category: Archaic English.
Etymological Note: The word 'archaic' comes from the Greek ὰρχαικός (archāikos, 'old-fashioned'), which comes in turn from ὰρχαῖος (archaios, 'ancient', 'old-fashioned'), an adjective from the noun ὰρχή (archē, 'beginning', 'origin').