Main definitions of ancient in English

: ancient1ancient2

ancient1

adjective

  • 1Belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.

    ‘the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean’
    • ‘In those gold borders I lived apart from the happy, academic families, with their distant stasis of ancient language.’
    • ‘According to the newspaper, the coin belonged to an ancient civilization that flourished in Al-Jouf.’
    • ‘We're busy spending quadrillions of dollars trying to find out if, like, a dozen microbes maybe once lived on Mars sometime in the ancient past.’
    • ‘His knowledge of French, Italian and German also lets him read modern research in the classics and ancient civilizations.’
    • ‘Such fires were rare in the past; most ancient blazes barely reached waist level.’
    • ‘His study thereby substantially advances the base of our awareness and knowledge of this fascinating period of our ancient past.’
    • ‘He will probably be promising to do that long after the internal combustion engine is a relic of the ancient past.’
    • ‘But it is not only the ancient past that concerns them.’
    • ‘Women were banned from competing and spectating at the original Games, and shot put is barely 100 years old, so the direct linkage with the ancient past was tenuous.’
    • ‘The Marathi playwright and Marxist intellectual turns to India's ancient past to pinpoint the moment of empire.’
    • ‘My pinball skills were no longer celebrated, I was a has-been, a thing of the ancient past.’
    • ‘Faidros Kavallaris belongs to the ancient culture of Greece.’
    • ‘Spirit landed in the middle of Gusev Crater, a 95-mile-wide depression scientists believe contained a lake during the ancient past.’
    • ‘I suggest to Ferdinand that he was already well on the way and now felt open to learning much more about his ancient and early past and that he was prepared to go on searching this with me.’
    • ‘While few details of the screenplay, written by Gibson himself, have been released, the story concerns an ancient civilization 3000 years in the past.’
    • ‘A few of the other welcoming faces belonged to friends from my ancient past as a corporate drone.’
    • ‘He also fails to mention the growing interest of many Iranians in their ancient past and faith and the possible repercussions for the country.’
    • ‘Most of us realize that humanity made a grave mistake by considering ancient civilizations to be primitive.’
    • ‘Some say my epiphanic places are places I've known in past lives, and that what I'm feeling is the distant echo of ancient memories, sweetened with the savor of immortality.’
    • ‘There weren't any Roman emperors about to barter oysters weight by weight for gold, as they did in the ancient past.’
    of long ago, earliest, first, early, past, former, bygone
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Having been in existence for a very long time.
      ‘an ancient gateway’
      ‘ancient forests’
      • ‘He said Love Lane was an historic footpath which was said to be the ancient way from the Forest of Galtres to the City of York.’
      • ‘Squinting through nostalgia's rose-tinted eye, I see beautifully realised dungeons and ancient forests with evil monsters and talking walls and things.’
      • ‘Touch-therapy, as practised by Mr. Varade, belongs to the ancient Siddha tradition of healing and can be practised long-distance as well.’
      • ‘My preference would be to close this valuable ancient gateway to all transport, by allowing incoming traffic to use a new road to the left of the bar, replacing the present pedestrian only access.’
      • ‘And across our bloody meadows, open commons, and ancient forests Britain's heritage army is steeling itself for combat.’
      • ‘Past ancient treasures that stretched away into the distance in adjoining rooms.’
      • ‘Temple Bar used to be located where the Strand meets Fleet Street, one of the ancient gateways into the City of London, named after the local Inns of Court.’
      • ‘Simply put, the tactic has been to make the Clayoquot issue too hard to follow, and in the confusion evade having to fundamentally change the practice of logging in ancient forests.’
      • ‘Often no more than a single lane, it coils around villages perched on precipices, past waterfalls and over ancient stone bridges.’
      • ‘Fang Binghai has collected over 200 ancient boxes over the past 13 years.’
      • ‘He has been collecting ancient coins for the past 30 years and has about 2,500 coins dating back to various civilizations.’
      • ‘Led by experienced guides, Jasber also climbed the extinct Losimingori volcano, walked through the ancient oasis of Silela Forest and visited a Masai village.’
      • ‘The forests are ancient, and there's evidence that man has been here for some time, with rock paintings dating back 5,000 years.’
      • ‘As night falls, the young boys are led away into the forest, chanting ancient songs as they follow the lamps away from childhood.’
      • ‘It has the backing of the Walmgate Against Crime Action Group, a consortium of residents and businesses which has been working behind the scenes to improve this ancient gateway to our city.’
      • ‘It is about the survival of the ancient shola forests of Tamil Nadu, with whatever is left of their endemic flora and fauna after the tampering of colonial and independent India.’
      • ‘Their lives are disrupted when an ancient sword belonging to Li - the legendary Green Destiny - is stolen and the main suspect is the murderous fugitive Jade Fox.’
      • ‘From the hut, hike up through the barren moonscape of the lower mountain, past ancient aqueducts and cliff bands.’
      • ‘Despite all of the above I am proud to belong to this ancient land.’
      • ‘I am on a rattly bus heading past a huge ancient pyramid.’
    2. 1.2humorous Showing or feeling signs of age or wear.
      ‘an ancient pair of jeans’
      ‘you make me feel ancient’
      • ‘His room is narrow, high-roofed, and cold, his mattress worn, his blankets ancient, but he does not care.’
      • ‘Yan performed at Yifu Theatre this Sunday, acting as an ancient official, wearing a long beard.’
      • ‘He had been doing some research on that most ancient and worn out of vessels.’
      • ‘Sometimes, when my father was feeling benevolent, he would ‘double’ either my sister or me on his ancient Massey Harris bike down to the Aussie.’
      • ‘The reason why my cranium was not injured was because I was wearing an ancient, yellow climbing helmet.’
      • ‘I lashed the clothes that I had been brought to wear at the hospital into the bag, a couple of ancient pairs of socks that felt suddenly found and familiar.’
      • ‘He wore faded Wranglers, ancient cowboy boots and a brown, plaid Western - style shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows.’
      • ‘Her normally perfectly coifed black hair hung in long tangles, and she wore an ancient gown torn into shreds.’
      • ‘Someone cranks up a pair of ancient machines capable of playing videotapes and DVDs.’
      • ‘An ancient sign nailed to the front of the largest barn bore the inscription Dog's Ear.’
      • ‘I've now lost more than necessary, and am again able to wear ancient pairs of jeans from my youth.’
      • ‘Young defender Gareth Barry is a bright spot, but signing two ancient pros in Luc Nillis and David Ginola is finger in the dyke stuff.’
      • ‘Then you walk past the ancient jukebox - but have no fear!’
      • ‘Brandon looked back at Lana, and noticed she was sobbing in the arms of a tall boy wearing an ancient football jersey.’
      • ‘It's hard to let go of that ancient bike, rusting quietly away in the corner of the shed, cobwebbed to the first lawnmower you ever owned.’
      • ‘One had an ancient, baby-blue sign with pink elephants in the corners - Ward 1 and Nursery.’
      • ‘An ancient sign warns of the danger of walking on the luscious looking sod on the edge of the cliffs.’
      • ‘Coasting loose-limbed on an ancient bike, almost Cassius-faced in a green wool coat.’
      • ‘The neighboring buildings had been updated and shuffled from owner to owner, but this one still had an ancient sign with peeling paint and faded print.’
      • ‘Going down the Pacific Coast Highway I spotted an ancient looking sign for a place called Trader Ric's.’

noun

Archaic, humorous
  • An old person.

    ‘a solitary ancient in a tweed jacket’
    • ‘I felt ageless six months ago; I now feel like an ancient.’
    • ‘I am neither a child, a young man, nor an ancient; nor am I of any caste.’
    • ‘Sorin (Jozsef Gyabronka, one of the actors who can always be heard) is not the usual whingeing ancient, but a sardonic, angry old man who can laugh bitterly at himself.’
    • ‘The team is largely staffed with ancients and has-beens.’
    • ‘Some ancients still get a sparkle in their eyes when they remember surfing both swells.’
    • ‘It's rare that I see any ancients logged on, anymore, and I'll continue to keep a watchful eye to see if there are any on, for this will be my last post on the forums.’
    • ‘The man who had spoken was a pale ancient, with a beard so white that it made the snow that constantly covered Ashine look dull in comparison.’

Phrases

  • the ancient of days

    • A biblical title for God.

      • ‘I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with The Clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.’
      • ‘In Daniel 7: 13 one ‘like a Son of Man’ comes with the clouds of heaven and is presented to the Ancient of Days (God).’
      • ‘Even though, in verse 21, Satan makes war with the saints and prevails against them for a season, Jesus, the Ancient of Days, comes in judgement with His saints and possesses the kingdom.’
      • ‘Envision Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel where God's outstretched finger reaches toward Adam, or William Blake's Ancient of Days in which God's fingers form a caliper that sends forth creative light.’
      • ‘Even the exalted Christ continues to employ the idiom of reverential deference for the Ancient of Days!’
  • the ancients

    • 1The people of ancient times, especially the Greeks and Romans of classical antiquity.

      • ‘The flower was also a popular aphrodisiac among the ancients (who were then, of course, all ages, both young and old!).’
      • ‘The earth was no longer the nurturing mother of the ancients.’
      • ‘The ancients did not expect their old men to run themselves into the ground, they wanted them to contemplate life and come up with words of wisdom that might benefit the rest of society.’
      • ‘In fact, some artists and designers in eighteenth-century Rome not only imitated the ancients but actually incorporated antique elements into their own works.’
      • ‘In the pre-millennial run-up, this popular fascination with the ancients was mixed into a New Age stew of half-understood ideas about the origins of religious belief.’
      • ‘But the popular notion that the ancients did not regard slavery as morally problematic is unpersuasive.’
      1. 1.1The classical Greek and Roman authors.
        ‘a thorough knowledge of the ancients is a prerequisite of criticism’
        • ‘The ancients - Hesiod, Homer, Virgil - struggled with it on their own cosmic terms.’
        • ‘Also rests are allowed for in the verse of the ancients and, though not professedly, in ours (there are instances collected from Shakespeare) like the rests in music.’
        • ‘As Jean Seznec established, medieval writers considered themselves the cultural heirs of the ancients.’
        • ‘And we're climbing on board the odyssey today with two medical historians who have dug deep into the texts of the ancients to explore ideas from antiquity about the psyche.’
        • ‘But none of this means that Adam and Eve are subjects or citizens existing within what either the ancients or Milton would have thought of as a political society.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French ancien, based on Latin ante before.

Pronunciation:

ancient

/ˈān(t)SHənt/

Main definitions of ancient in English

: ancient1ancient2

ancient2

noun

Archaic
  • A standard, flag, or ensign.

    • ‘The ancient was a banner bearing an heraldic device, the token of ancient or noble descent, borne by a gentleman or a leader in a war.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: alteration of ensign by association with ancien, an early form of ancient.

Pronunciation:

ancient

/ˈān(t)SHənt/