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also ante-bellum, from Latin phrase ante bellum, literally "before the war;" see ante- + bellicose. In U.S., usually in reference to the American Civil War (1861-65); first attested in a June 14, 1862, entry in Mary Chesnut's diary.
A descriptive term for objects and institutions, especially houses, that originated three or four decades before the Civil War. Antebellum is Latin for “before the war.”