Definition of eternity in US English:



  • 1Infinite or unending time.

    ‘their love was sealed for eternity’
    ‘this state of affairs has lasted for all eternity’
    • ‘If a British tennis player were to give up a chance to win the men's single title for a small thing like the love of a woman he would be torn to pieces, or at least mocked for all eternity.’
    • ‘First he was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria whose reign seemed to go on for all eternity.’
    • ‘The German political elite felt that their country would be condemned for all eternity to bear the burden of its militaristic excesses, and successes.’
    • ‘We might all have to go underground and sulk for all eternity.’
    • ‘Basically, either way, she was doomed to suffer for eternity.’
    • ‘This alone could have brought in enough revenue to finance Social Security for all eternity.’
    • ‘Sticking with the fish, they are often served whole with the head and tail bent towards one another like a circle or symbol of eternity.’
    • ‘Then he realizes that he is doomed to spend eternity locked in the same place, seeing the same people do the same things every day.’
    • ‘Usually, the twin pines symbol is enclosed in a circle to symbolize eternity.’
    • ‘Wiccans usually put the symbol in a circle, which has traditionally represented the endless or eternity.’
    • ‘He made a huge mistake and will suffer for it in the hell of his own self absorption for all eternity.’
    • ‘And it is a symbol of eternity, time immemorial.’
    • ‘The king was then taken to his burial chamber deep below the pyramid and then sealed there for all eternity.’
    • ‘I think that my thoughts should be recorded forever on paper and bound so that mere mortals may read them for all eternity.’
    • ‘A stone is also symbolic of eternity, like the cornerstone of a building, placed to last for all time.’
    • ‘He also wanted to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to make his career, to make his name for all eternity.’
    • ‘From that time on, David will love this woman, his mommy, with all his heart for all eternity.’
    • ‘Diamonds, symbols of eternity, are not forever - they will eventually degrade to worthless graphite.’
    • ‘There were a couple of scenes where I thought they'd just forgotten to end it, that maybe it would never end, and I'd be watching for all eternity.’
    • ‘Then the Shia family could have reigned in happiness and strength for all eternity.’
    • ‘Just imagine, your own voice, your own words, broadcast out into the cosmos for all eternity.’
    • ‘Will they find happiness or are they doomed to misery for eternity?’
    ever, all time, perpetuity
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    1. 1.1 A state to which time has no application; timelessness.
      • ‘Now, if Death is a collapsing of Time, then the Soul may move into a suspended state of eternity, seeing all time at once.’
      • ‘He came on a mission out of eternity to live among us.’
      • ‘In Mahapatra's poetry, the windows of life are flung wide open, and both time and timelessness, today and eternity rush in.’
      • ‘The fifth chapter is an extended discourse on God's relationship to both time and eternity and the last expounds the doctrine of the Trinity.’
    2. 1.2Theology Endless life after death.
      ‘immortal souls destined for eternity’
      • ‘So even though they are sinners, they can know purpose and meaning in life through receiving Jesus Christ, and be saved for eternity.’
      • ‘Some religions are a little more aggressive with those that stray from the path, threatening eternity in hell etc, but otherwise the basic rules are all followed.’
      • ‘The first question will determine where you spend eternity.’
      • ‘Furthermore, most Christian theology teaches that life is a training ground for the vision of God that can only be enjoyed fully in eternity.’
      • ‘Every hour thousands of people across the world pass into eternity, the vast majority of them unprepared to meet their Creator in his blazing holiness and indignation against sin.’
      • ‘That is the only way to be right in life and prepared for death and eternity.’
      • ‘To sum up the difficulty: the soul is the only part of us that survives death; our eternity is experienced through our souls.’
      • ‘With the concept of the soul, an entity that is supposed to live on for eternity, death is seemingly cheated of its sting of finality.’
      • ‘That is why, according to traditional theology, unbaptized babies have to languish in limbo for all eternity.’
      • ‘Some lives will probably be lost because of this hurricane, but if their souls are lost for eternity, that is the real disaster.’
      • ‘Issues of sin, justification, salvation and eternity are rarely mentioned.’
      • ‘People will be challenged concerning where they stand in relation to Jesus Christ - and where they will spend eternity.’
      • ‘Are people who report near death experiences also warranted in believing that, say, the passage to eternity requires moving through a real tunnel?’
      • ‘Does he realize that in all likelihood he is now doomed to spend eternity in Hell?’
      • ‘With the courage of faith, Malcolm, already dead, gains eternity.’
      • ‘Let us train our children for God, for heaven, and for eternity.’
      • ‘You feel like Sisyphus - condemned to roll that same damn rock up the same damn hill for all eternity, only to watch it roll back down inches from the top.’
      • ‘Whether heavenly or hellish, the afterlife presents moviemakers with a problem: eternity.’
      • ‘I appreciate that in many definitions of the afterlife what form it takes depends upon how you have acted in your life, but how can a few years determine your existence for the rest of eternity?’
      • ‘That reminder is why people have to be saved to spend eternity in Heaven.’
      the afterlife, everlasting life, life after death, the life to come, the life hereafter, the hereafter, the world hereafter, the afterworld, the next world, the beyond
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    3. 1.3 Used euphemistically to refer to death.
      ‘he could have crashed the car and taken them both to eternity’
      • ‘A young gunnery officer in command of a hill post overlooking the city keeps watch of the air space above, whilst a young flying instructor at the airfield below trains teenage kamikaze pilots for their single trip to eternity.’
    4. 1.4an eternityinformal A period of time that seems very long, especially on account of being tedious or annoying.
      ‘a silence that lasted an eternity’
      • ‘Finally, after what seemed an eternity of waiting, the first dragon came into view.’
      • ‘I bit my nail anxiously as I waited an eternity for Mom to answer.’
      • ‘To Scott it seemed like Mary took an eternity to make up her mind.’
      • ‘I started sweating, and every passing moment seemed like an excruciating eternity.’
      • ‘After what seemed an eternity of uncomfortable silence, well, I thought someone had to break it.’
      • ‘They sat in silence for what seemed an eternity, when suddenly Isabel's phone rang.’
      • ‘If you are with a group of males expect to wait an eternity.’
      • ‘After an eternity of waiting, he finally spoke, ‘I'm shallow?’’
      • ‘What seemed like an eternity passed, but the creatures made no attempt to advance.’
      • ‘After a seeming eternity, they were beneath the stage.’
      • ‘The woman is gone for what seems to the man to be an eternity.’
      • ‘I truly smiled at her after what had seemed like an eternity of waiting.’
      • ‘For Melanie, however, school seemed to last an eternity on Friday.’
      • ‘So, it's almost here after what seems like an eternity of endless waiting.’
      • ‘Disagreeing with any aspect of Government policy would doom them to an eternity on the back benches and make high government office impossible.’
      • ‘Six months is a long time in the restaurant business - six years is an eternity!’
      a long time, an age, ages, ages and ages, a time, a lifetime
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Late Middle English: from Old French eternite, from Latin aeternitas, from aeternus ‘without beginning or end’ (see eternal).