Ante bellum means the period before a war. The accepted usage of the term, usually written as antebellum, refers to the American South before the civil war.
The term literally translates to English as ‘before the war.’ It came into English language usage in the late 19th century.
One might argue that using ante bellum to define any period other than the one it traditionally refers to is improper. The country music group Lady Antebellum have received criticism about their choice of name, with people calling it inappropriate and even racist.
Examples of use in a sentence include:
Many Antebellum Mansions in Nashville are now open to the public for use for events such as weddings.
Gone with the Wind was written about life in the antebellum south.