Definition of immemorial in US English:



  • Originating in the distant past; very old.

    ‘an immemorial custom’
    • ‘This isn't to say that the artists who broke with their immemorial tradition did so all at once, or that, having done so, they created nothing beautiful.’
    • ‘For example, we are already seeing nostalgic laments of the loss of the immemorial rights of Internet users.’
    • ‘Their crucial years between adolescence and adulthood are spent in some of the most moving buildings in England, surrounded by beautiful gardens and immemorial traditions.’
    • ‘We yearn, with that immemorial human ache, to find someone to blame - but whom?’
    • ‘The right is ‘to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes’ while avoiding the need to prove an immemorial custom or legal origin which would establish a class A or class B green.’
    • ‘The jigsaw fairy lights appeared ephemeral; the dark, immemorial and timeless.’
    • ‘Our ancestors from times immemorial used this prehistory track as they travelled with their flocks and it is thought to have been the route taken by the early travellers to Stonehenge.’
    • ‘But my London love - just like my London hate - is no mere catalogue of pursuits: it's a sense of belonging to a vast agglomeration of almost immemorial human desire, ambition and endeavour.’
    • ‘Noah and his family understood this dependency on other living creatures when they devised the ark and its immemorial zoo.’
    • ‘By the will of God, these days add to your immemorial past, your share of glory and victory.’
    • ‘In fact we have a long tradition of protecting nature and have protected reserves from times immemorial.’
    • ‘Zola's cheese shop was aptly set in the new market halls, built in the 1850s, for it depicted modern commerce and not immemorial rural custom.’
    • ‘Paradoxically, this immemorial and ubiquitous trauma is perpetuating the dream of an eternal and perfectly just, that is, paradisical life.’
    • ‘The more you experience this contrast and this distance, the more you will feel the importance, for us, of an immemorial past and a distant future.’
    • ‘Because they will be part of that immemorial conversation of humankind about how we shall live.’
    • ‘Awarded the Military Cross, he took lives to save others, contributing to the ‘long-famous glories, immemorial shames of war’.’
    • ‘On the one hand, he conceded that the old rites had the weight of immemorial tradition behind them, and no doubt propitiated malevolent spirits.’
    • ‘Carefully placed to capture and reflect light, water softens and cools the interior in the immemorial Hispanic tradition.’
    • ‘Now add the many sayings of immemorial antiquity, although the early bird getting a worm for his punctuality is hardly inspirational imagery for those among us with more discriminating palates.’
    • ‘Storytelling and religion are depicted as legitimizing existing power relations by appealing to the sanctity of immemorial traditions.’
    ancient, old, very old, age-old, antediluvian, timeless, dateless, archaic, long-standing, long-lived, time-worn, time-honoured
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Early 17th century: from medieval Latin immemorialis, from in- ‘not’ + memorialis ‘relating to the memory’.