Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: ancien, from Vulgar Latin anteanus, from Latin ante 'before'

ancient

1 adjective
     
an‧cient1 W2
1 belonging to a time long ago in history, especially thousands of years ago [≠ modern]:
the ancient civilizations of Asia
ancient Greece/Egypt/Rome
the religion of ancient Egypt
2 having existed for a very long time [≠ new]:
an ancient walled city
an ancient forest
the ancient art of calligraphy
3 very old - used humorously:
That photo makes me look ancient!
4

ancient history

a) the history of ancient societies, such as Greece or Rome:
a professor of ancient history
b) informal if you say that something is ancient history, you mean that it happened a long time ago and is not important now:
It's all ancient history and I'm not upset any more.
WORD FOCUS: old WORD FOCUS: old
PEOPLE: elderly a polite word used to describe someone who is old
middle-aged
aged between about 50 and 60 years old
senior citizen
/senior American English/pensioner British English/retiree American English someone over 60 who has stopped working
senile
old and mentally ill
ancient
, geriatric, be getting on, be past it, be over the hill, be no spring chicken informal words and expressionsused to describe someone who is old, often used humorously
geriatric
geriatric medicine, care, hospitals etc are for old people

THINGS/PLACES: ancient ancient civilizations, cities, buildings, traditions etc existed many hundreds of years ago
prehistoric
existing many thousands of years ago
antique
antique furniture, jewellery etc is old and often valuable


See also
old

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