Definition of antiquarian in English:



  • 1Relating to or dealing in antiques or rare books.

    ‘antiquarian booksellers’
    • ‘What, for instance, are the existing rare or antiquarian Indian books?’
    • ‘For John Sibbald, who has been involved in the antiquarian book industry for 30 years, it was the second time he found a copy of the rare book in the past 12 months.’
    • ‘Kenny is still selling rare, antiquarian and out-of-print books to clients in the US and Britain, but now he is targeting libraries, universities and private collectors in Japan, China and Taiwan.’
    • ‘The role of Hampton Court as an ancestral home in antiquarian taste shaped its early Stuart function as the focus for ambassadorial receptions.’
    • ‘There were imported suits, obscure gramophone records, antiquarian books, fancy horse-wear, dinosaur eggs, buttered croissants, white chocolate and computer games.’
    • ‘A new market appeared as the burgeoning antiquarian book trade pushed up the price of older works.’
    • ‘It's basically a recognition manual for antiquarian booksellers and aesthetes, but it does make some concessions to the issue of how you make the stuff.’
    • ‘He sought out rare and out-of-print books from antiquarian booksellers, including a set of delightful eighteenth-century guidebooks by the York publisher Thomas Gent.’
    • ‘They also have a special section for rare Canadiana, signed books, and antiquarian finds.’
    • ‘I was misled by an article in the Guardian of 28 February, in which its arts correspondent described Quaritch as ‘the London antiquarian booksellers handling the sale’.’
    • ‘Ms Craddock has lately served a term as president of the world association of antiquarian booksellers - in my eyes a distinction higher than being an ambassador to the United Nations.’
    • ‘The Glasgow-based writer worked for many years as a dealer in second-hand, out-of-print and antiquarian books.’
    • ‘The York National Book Fair, which will be taking over the ground floor of the Barbican Centre on Friday and Saturday, is the largest rare, antiquarian and out-of-print book fair in Europe.’
    • ‘The Fair lays claim to being Britain's largest antiquarian book fair with over 200 leading booksellers specialising in antiquarian and secondhand books, maps, prints and ephemera.’
    • ‘This will be a full time unit housing books from 12 different antiquarian booksellers around the country.’
    • ‘Books old and new, bargain books, children's books and a large representation of antiquarian books will be for sale.’
    • ‘Jacques, a farmer's son with near genius level IQ, used his knowledge of the antiquarian book trade to avoid suspicion for years.’
    • ‘The establishment, which specialises in selling scholarly and antiquarian books on the humanities, cannot afford to pay increased rent rates for the premises.’
    • ‘A year after his death, only the attention of antiquarian bookseller Donald McCormick saved Hay's notebooks and papers: he bought them at an auction for £3, the price of the old suitcase which contained them.’
    • ‘The York National Book Fair is an annual event and lays claim to being Britain's largest rare and antiquarian book fair with some 200 booksellers and an estimate of some 100,000 books on offer.’
    old style, former, past, bygone, historic, heritage, antique, early, classical, traditional, folk, old-world, ancestral, time-honoured, ancient, veteran, vintage, quaint
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  • 2Relating to the study of antiquities.

    • ‘The treatment of fables as vague intimations of Christian doctrine did not disappear even in the most sophisticated antiquarian studies of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries.’
    • ‘We need some of the skills you developed in your antiquarian studies.’
    • ‘To be fair to Isaac, he hastens to assure the reader that ‘the debate cannot be so readily dismissed or relegated to antiquarian study.’’
    • ‘It argues against the complaint that the study is antiquarian.’
    • ‘He was educated at Cavers School, near his native village of Denholm, and at Minto School, but his great philological and antiquarian knowledge was acquired largely through his own studies.’


  • A person who studies or collects antiques or antiquities.

    • ‘Napoleon has with him scholars, including antiquarians and linguists, whose job it is to unravel the mysteries of ancient Egypt.’
    • ‘The reason for the change in formulation is that numismatic specialists and antiquarians insisted that coins had to be made of metal.’
    • ‘Genealogists are no longer simply antiquarians but often museologists, archivists, and family historians.’
    • ‘For as long as there has been a publishing industry, there have been used books, that supposedly quaint world of polymaths and antiquarians poking about musty, cluttered stores for titles few readers would know.’
    • ‘Interest in Chinese and Japanese export porcelain has remained, however, among antiquarians, collectors, and historians, for whom it is an important document of the interactions between East and West.’
    • ‘It was a time when large numbers of women and antiquarians were collecting ceramics, chiefly the refined wares used in America during the colonial and early Federal periods.’
    • ‘Though the survey was for the specific purpose of consolidation of the monarch's power, it recorded certain incidental information that have ever been sought after by historians and antiquarians.’
    • ‘Like a prosecuting attorney arguing every possible angle to get a conviction, Tucker splits historical hairs, spins the written record and dismisses eminent antiquarians by selectively citing writers of deservedly lesser stature.’
    • ‘Since many pieces of English delftware are dated, they have long been held in particularly high regard by antiquarians and collectors.’
    • ‘But it was antiquarians, specializing in a number of different areas, who developed the tools for dealing with the past via its documentary and material remains.’
    • ‘The reader will meet a veritable galaxy of rakes, atheistic clergy, philanthropic snobs, scholars, apothecaries and antiquarians in this elegant, witty, informative and, in true Horatian style, entertaining book.’
    • ‘Where else in Europe do the traces of pre-classical life leave so much to be puzzled over by antiquarians, anthropologists, historians, and psychologists?’
    • ‘Centuries after sword manufacturing in Hounslow had ceased, some antiquarians began collecting the surviving specimens.’
    • ‘Collectors and antiquarians were largely responsible for the vogue for collecting antiquities that took root in the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘In Eusebius's Cronica, a prime example of this intellectual heritage of seventeenth-century antiquarians, the various events from the life of Moses were diligently matched to the house of Cecrops.’
    • ‘Combing the archives for empirical verification, a disparate band of historians, archivists, and antiquarians refuted Vasari's narrative point by point.’
    • ‘Cyriac's detailed notes and drawings, together with his interests in collecting, made him a role model for later antiquarians.’
    • ‘After his death, certain of his biographical and other writings were brought out by his son, Montagu North, but otherwise his works awaited discovery by nineteenth-century antiquarians and twentieth-century scholars.’
    • ‘Moreover a range of local celebrations in 1876 paid even more attention to antiquities in part because local antiquarians were especially keen on collecting history at the county level.’
    • ‘Demand for these wares abated before the Civil War but soon antiquarians and collectors began to search out examples of these patriotic ceramics.’


Early 17th century: from Latin antiquarius (see antiquary).