What does Ancient mean?

Definitions for Ancient
ˈeɪn ʃəntan·cient

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Ancient.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ancient, antediluviannoun

    a very old person

  2. ancientadjective

    a person who lived in ancient times

  3. ancientadjective

    belonging to times long past especially of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire

    "ancient history"; "ancient civilizations such as those of the Etruscans and Sumerians"; "ancient Greece"

  4. ancientadjective

    very old

    "an ancient mariner"


  1. ancientnoun

    A person who is very old or who lived in ancient times.

  2. ancientnoun

    A flag, banner, standard or ensign.

  3. ancientadjective

    Having lasted from a remote period; having been of long duration; of great age; very old.

  4. ancientadjective

    Existent or occurring in time long past, usually in remote ages; belonging to or associated with antiquity; old, as opposed to modern.

  5. Etymology: From auncyen, from ancien, from root *anteanus, from ante. Compare antique.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. ANCIENTadjective

    Etymology: ancien, Fr. antiquus, Lat.

    Ancient tenure is that whereby all the manours belonging to the crown, in St. Edward’s or William the Conquerour’s days, did hold. The number and names of which manours, as all others belonging to common persons, he caused to be written in a book, after a survey made of them, now remaining in the exchequer, and called doomsday book; and such as by that book appeared to have belonged to the crown at that time, are called ancient demesnes. John Cowell.

    With the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days understanding. Job, xii. 12.

    Thales affirms, that God comprehended all things, and that God was of all things the most ancient, because he never had any beginning. Walter Raleigh, History of the World.

    Gave the tall ancient forest too his axe. James Thomson, Summer.

    I see thy fury: if I longer stay,
    We shall begin our ancient bickerings. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

  2. Ancientnoun

    Those that lived in old time were called ancients, opposed to the moderns.

    Etymology: from ancient, adj.

    And though the ancients thus their rules invade,
    As kings dispense with laws themselves have made;
    Moderns, beware! or if you must offend
    Against the precept, ne’er transgress its end. Alexander Pope, Ess. on Crit.

  3. Ancientnoun

    The flag or streamer of a ship, and, formerly, of a regiment.

  4. Ancientnoun

    The bearer of a flag, as was Ancient Pistol; whence in present use, ensign.


  1. ancient

    Ancient history is a time period from the beginning of writing and recorded human history to as far as late antiquity. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script. Ancient history covers all continents inhabited by humans in the period 3000 BC – AD 500. The three-age system periodizes ancient history into the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, with recorded history generally considered to begin with the Bronze Age. The start and end of the three ages varies between world regions. In many regions the Bronze Age is generally considered to begin a few centuries prior to 3000 BC, while the end of the Iron Age varies from the early first millennium BC in some regions to the late first millennium AD in others.During the time period of ancient history, the world population was already exponentially increasing due to the Neolithic Revolution, which was in full progress. While in 10,000 BC, the world population stood at 2 million, it rose to 45 million by 3,000 BC. By the Iron Age in 1000 BC, the population had risen to 72 million. By the end of the ancient period in AD 500, the world population is thought to have stood at 209 million. In 10,500 years, the world population increased by 100 times.


  1. Ancient

    Ancient generally refers to a remote period of time in human history, typically prior to the Middle Ages or any period of significance considered to have occurred in the distant past. It can be used as an adjective to describe civilizations, cultures, artifacts, practices, or any other historical elements that existed in antiquity. The term ancient often implies a sense of long-lasting or profound influence and can be applied to various regions and time periods across the world.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ancientadjective

    old; that happened or existed in former times, usually at a great distance of time; belonging to times long past; specifically applied to the times before the fall of the Roman empire; -- opposed to modern; as, ancient authors, literature, history; ancient days

  2. Ancientadjective

    old; that has been of long duration; of long standing; of great age; as, an ancient forest; an ancient castle

  3. Ancientadjective

    known for a long time, or from early times; -- opposed to recent or new; as, the ancient continent

  4. Ancientadjective

    dignified, like an aged man; magisterial; venerable

  5. Ancientadjective

    experienced; versed

  6. Ancientadjective

    former; sometime

  7. Ancientnoun

    those who lived in former ages, as opposed to the moderns

  8. Ancientnoun

    an aged man; a patriarch. Hence: A governor; a ruler; a person of influence

  9. Ancientnoun

    a senior; an elder; a predecessor

  10. Ancientnoun

    one of the senior members of the Inns of Court or of Chancery

  11. Ancientnoun

    an ensign or flag

  12. Ancientnoun

    the bearer of a flag; an ensign

  13. Etymology: [Corrupted from ensign.]


  1. Ancient

    The Ancients are a humanoid race in the fictional Stargate universe. They are called "Ancients" in the Milky Way, but are also known as Lanteans or Ancestors in the Pegasus galaxy and as the Alterans in their home galaxy, and they sometimes call themselves Anquietas in their language. In the series mythology, they are one of the most advanced races known to have existed; they evolved millions of years before the present day and reached their level of technology long before humanity evolved on Earth. They are best known as the builders of the Stargates, the giant ring-shaped portals commonly used by Earth-based humans to travel and explore the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies. The Ancients have become an important race in all three Stargate series. They belong to the same race as the Ori, the main antagonists in Stargate SG-1 since the show's ninth season, and have played a large role in the series' many story arcs. In Stargate Atlantis, the Ancients built Atlantis, the show's main setting, and are responsible for the emergence of the show's two main villain races: the Wraith and the Asurans. In Stargate Universe they are the ones that have built and launched the ship Destiny on its journey.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ancient

    ān′shent, adj. old: belonging to former times, specifically, of times prior to the downfall of the western Roman empire (476 A.D.): of great age or duration: of past times in a general sense: venerable: antique, old-fashioned.—n. an aged man, a patriarch: a superior in age or dignity.—adv. An′ciently.—ns. An′cientness; An′cientry, ancientness, seniority: ancestry: dignity of birth: (Shak.) old people.—n.pl. An′cients, those who lived in remote times, esp. the Greeks and Romans of classical times: (B.) elders.—The Ancient of days, a title in the Holy Scriptures for the Almighty, applied by Byron to Athens. [Fr. ancien—Low L. antianus, old—L. ante, before. See Antique.]

  2. Ancient

    ān′shent, n. (obs.) a flag or its bearer: an ensign. [Corr. of Fr. enseigne. See Ensign.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. ancient

    A term formerly used for the colours and their bearer, as ensign is now. Shakspeare's Nym was only a corporal, but Pistol was an ancient.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. ancient

    A term formerly used to express the grand ensign or standard of an army.

Suggested Resources

  1. ancient

    Song lyrics by ancient -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by ancient on the Lyrics.com website.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Ancient

    Iago is described as Othello’s “ancient.” Even in Shakespeare’s day this word was a corruption of ensign, or standard-bearer.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Ancient' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2009

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Ancient' in Adjectives Frequency: #272

How to pronounce Ancient?

How to say Ancient in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Ancient in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Ancient in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of Ancient in a Sentence

  1. Nathaniel Hawthorne:

    The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.

  2. Phillip Barden:

    Fossilized behavior is exceedingly rare, predation( the act of predator attacking prey) especially so, as paleontologists, we speculate about the function of ancient adaptations using available evidence, but to see an extinct predator caught in the act of capturing its prey is invaluable.

  3. John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

    Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world

  4. Vito Mocella of the Institute:

    We're very excited about this possibility because we know the immense value for the study of ancient Greek and Latin civilization.

  5. Christopher Rollston:

    The fact that the papyrus itself has been carbon-dated to the seventh century BCE certainly does not mean that the writing on the papyrus is ancient.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Ancient

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"Ancient." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Ancient>.

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    the trait of lacking restraint or control; reckless freedom from inhibition or worry
    A serendipity
    B tingle
    C abandon
    D sweep

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