The Pleistocene is the epoch from 1.8 million to 10 000 years BP covering the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek (pleistos "most") and (kainos "new").

The Pleistocene epoch follows the Pliocene epoch and is followed by the Holocene epoch. The Pleistocene is the first epoch of the Quaternary period or 6th epoch of the Cenozoic Era. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the retreat of the last continental glacier. It also corresponds with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.

The Pleistocene is divided into the Gelasian, Early Pleistocene, Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene. For the last three stages, the Italian names (Calabrian, Ionian and Tarantian) are increasingly used. Additionally to this international subdivision, many regional subdivisions are used in different parts of the world.