resembling or containing chalk.
(initial capital letter) Geology. noting or pertaining to a period of the Mesozoic Era, from 140 million to 65 million years ago, characterized by the greatest development and subsequent extinction of dinosaurs and the advent of flowering plants and modern insects. See table under geologic time.
(initial capital letter) Geology. the Cretaceous Period or System.

1665–70; < Latin crētāceus, equivalent to crēt(a) chalk, clay (cf. crayon) + -āceus -aceous; the geological period was defined from the chalk beds of SE England and associated formations

cretaceously, adverb
noncretaceous, adjective
postcretaceous, adjective
supercretaceous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cretaceous (krɪˈteɪʃəs)
consisting of or resembling chalk
[C17: from Latin crētāceus, from crēta, literally: Cretan earth, that is, chalk]

Cretaceous (krɪˈteɪʃəs)
1.  of, denoting, or formed in the last period of the Mesozoic era, between the Jurassic and Tertiary periods, lasting 80 million years during which chalk deposits were formed and flowering plants first appeared
2.  the Cretaceous the Cretaceous period or rock system

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Word Origin & History

c.1675, adj., "chalky," from L. cretaceus "chalky," from creta "chalk." As a geological period (with a capital C-), it was first used 1832. The extensive chalk beds of southeastern England were laid down during the Cretaceous.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Cretaceous   (krĭ-tā'shəs)  Pronunciation Key 
The third and last period of the Mesozoic Era, from about 144 to 65 million years ago. During this time the supercontinent Pangaea continued to split up, with modern-day South America and Africa splitting apart, the Atlantic Ocean widening, and India disconnecting itself entirely from the other landmasses to which it was attached. dinosaurs continued to be the dominant terrestrial animals, but many insect groups, modern mammals and birds, and the angiosperms (flowering plants) also first appeared. The Cretaceous Period ended with a mass extinction event in which about 75 percent of all species, including marine, freshwater, and terrestrial organisms, became extinct. See Chart at geologic time.
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