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ancient1

[eyn-shuh nt] /ˈeɪn ʃənt/
adjective
1.
of or in time long past, especially before the end of the Western Roman Empire a.d. 476:
ancient history.
2.
dating from a remote period; of great age:
ancient rocks; ancient trees.
3.
very old; aged:
an ancient folk tale.
4.
being old in wisdom and experience; venerable.
5.
old-fashioned or antique.
noun
6.
a person who lived in ancient times.
7.
one of the classical writers of antiquity.
8.
a very old or aged person, especially if venerable or patriarchal.
9.
ancients.
  1. the civilized peoples, nations, or cultures of antiquity, as the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and Egyptians (usually preceded by the).
  2. the writers, artists, and philosophers of ancient times, especially those of Greece and Rome.
Origin of ancient1
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English auncien < Anglo-French; Old French ancien < Vulgar Latin *antiānus, equivalent to Latin ante(ā) before (see ante-) + -ānus -an; late Middle English forms with -t- developed by confusion with the present participle ending -nt (see -ent)
Related forms
ancientness, noun
Antonyms
2, 3. new, modern.
Synonym Study
2, 3. Ancient, antiquated, antique, old-fashioned refer to something dating from the past. Ancient implies existence or first occurrence in a distant past: an ancient custom. Antiquated connotes something too old or no longer useful: an antiquated building. Antique suggests a curious or pleasing quality in something old: antique furniture. Old-fashioned may disparage something as being out of date or may approve something old as being superior: an old-fashioned hat; old-fashioned courtesy.

ancient2

[eyn-shuh nt] /ˈeɪn ʃənt/
noun, Obsolete.
1.
the bearer of a flag.
2.
a flag, banner, or standard; ensign.
Origin
1545-55; variant of ensign by confusion with ancient1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ancient
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ancient priest who drew it must have placed it there for a definite purpose.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • Giles was their “ancient” and had charge of the banner, nor could it be doubted that he had flourished.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Not contentment, but a lamentation and an ancient tale of wrong!

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • But Babylon was made into one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • All the systems of writing of the ancient people of Asia had one thing in common.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
British Dictionary definitions for ancient

ancient1

/ˈeɪnʃənt/
adjective
1.
dating from very long ago: ancient ruins
2.
very old; aged
3.
of the far past, esp before the collapse of the Western Roman Empire (476 ad) Compare medieval, modern
4.
(law) having existed since before the time of legal memory
noun
5.
(often pl) a member of a civilized nation in the ancient world, esp a Greek, Roman, or Hebrew
6.
(often pl) one of the classical authors of Greek or Roman antiquity
7.
(archaic) an old man
Derived Forms
ancientness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French ancien, from Vulgar Latin anteanus (unattested), from Latin ante before

ancient2

/ˈeɪnʃənt/
noun (archaic)
1.
a flag or other banner; standard
2.
a standard-bearer; ensign
Word Origin
C16: changed from ensign through the influence of ancient1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ancient
adj.

mid-14c., auncyen, from Old French ancien "old, long-standing, ancient," from Vulgar Latin *anteanus, literally "from before," adjectivization of Latin ante "before, in front of, against" (from PIE *anti "against," locative singular of *ant- "front, forehead;" see ante). The parasitic -t dates from 15c. by influence of words in -ent.

Specifically, in history, "belonging to the period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire" (and contrasted with medieval and modern). In English law, "from before the Norman Conquest." Ancient of Days is from Dan. vii:9. Related: Anciently.

n.

"standard-bearer," 1550s, a corruption of ensign. Archaic, but preserved in Shakespeare's character Aunchient Pistoll in "Henry V."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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