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a combining form meaning “old” or “ancient,” especially in reference to former geologic time periods, used in the formation of compound words:
Also, pale-, especially British, palae-, palaeo-.
Origin of paleo-
< Greek palaio-, combining form of palaiós Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for paleo


combining form
variants (esp US) of palaeo-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for paleo


before vowels pale- word-forming element used in scientific combinations (mostly since c.1870) meaning "ancient, early, prehistoric, primitive," from Greek palaio-, comb. form of palaios "old, ancient," from palai "long ago, far back," related to palin "again, backwards," tele- "far off, at a distance," from PIE root *kwel- "to turn, move about," also "far" (in space and time); see cycle (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paleo in Medicine

paleo- or pale-

  1. Ancient; prehistoric; old: paleopathology.

  2. Early; primitive: paleokinetic.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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paleo in Science
A prefix that means "prehistoric" (as in paleontology) or "early or primitive" (as in Paleolithic).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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