1

ancient

adjective an·cient \ ˈān(t)-shənt , ˈāŋ(k)-shənt \

Definition of ancient

1 : having had an existence of many years
  • ancient customs
2 : of or relating to a remote period, to a time early in history, or to those living in such a period or time
  • ancient Egyptians
; especially : of or relating to the historical period beginning with the earliest known civilizations and extending to the fall of the western Roman Empire in a.d. 476
  • studied both ancient and modern history
3 : having the qualities of age or long existence: such as
a : venerable

ancientness

noun

Examples of ancient in a Sentence

  1. The people in the village still observe the ancient customs of their ancestors.

  2. a grove of ancient oak trees

  3. The practice was more common in ancient times than it is now.

  4. the gods of the ancient Romans

  5. She studied both ancient and modern history.

Origin and Etymology of ancient

Middle English ancien, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *anteanus, from Latin ante before — more at ante-

Synonym Discussion of ancient

old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence.
    • old houses
    • an old sweater of mine
ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past.
    • ancient accounts of dragons
venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age.
    • the family's venerable patriarch
antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time.
    • collected antique Chippendale furniture
antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time.
    • antiquated teaching methods
archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time.
    • the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period
obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence.
    • a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

2

ancient

noun

Definition of ancient

1 : an aged living being
  • a penniless ancient
2 : a person who lived in ancient times:
a ancients plural : the civilized people of antiquity; especially : those of the classical nations (see classical 2a)
b : one of the classical authors
  • Plutarch and other ancients
3 : an ancient coin

Origin and Etymology of ancient


3

ancient

noun

Definition of ancient

1 archaic : ensign, standard, flag
2 obsolete : the bearer of an ensign

Origin and Etymology of ancient

alteration of ensign


ANCIENT Defined for English Language Learners

ancient

adjective

Definition of ancient for English Language Learners

  • : very old : having lived or existed for a very long time

  • : of, coming from, or belonging to a time that was long ago in the past


ANCIENT Defined for Kids

1

ancient

adjective an·cient \ ˈān-shənt \

Definition of ancient for Students

1 : very old
  • ancient customs
2 : of or relating to a time long past or to those living in such a time
  • ancient Egypt

2

ancient

noun

Definition of ancient for Students

1 : a very old person
2 ancients plural : the civilized peoples of ancient times and especially of Greece and Rome

Law Dictionary

ancient

adjective an·cient

legal Definition of ancient

: existing from a long past date; specifically : having had an uninterrupted existence of 20 to 30 or more years
Note: Things and especially documents that are ancient benefit from a presumption that they are valid even though proof of their validity may be unavailable due to lapse of memory, absence of witnesses, or loss of documents.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ancient? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the significant part of a grievance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!