Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Having lasted from a remote period; having been of long duration; of great age; very old.
an ancient city; an ancient forest
- Existent or occurring in time long past, usually in remote ages; belonging to or associated with antiquity; old, as opposed to modern.
2006, Edwin Black, chapter 2, in Internal Combustion:
- Buried within the Mediterranean littoral are some seventy to ninety million tons of slag from ancient smelting, about a third of it concentrated in Iberia. This ceaseless industrial fueling caused the deforestation of an estimated fifty to seventy million acres of woodlands.
2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
- Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame. With more settled people, animals were harnessed to capstans or caged in treadmills to turn grist into meal.
an ancient author; an ancient empire
- (historical) Relating to antiquity as a primarily European historical period; the time before the Middle Ages.
- (obsolete) Experienced; versed.
- Though [he] was the youngest brother, yet he was the most ancient in the business of the realm.
- (obsolete) Former; sometime.
- Alexander Pope
- They mourned their ancient leader lost.
- Alexander Pope
Terms derived from ancient (adjective)
having lasted from a remote period
existent or occurring in time long past
history: relating to antiquity
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Translations to be checked
ancient (plural ancients)
- A person who is very old.
- A person who lived in ancient times.
- (heraldry, archaic) A flag, banner, standard or ensign.
- (Britain, law) One of the senior members of the Inns of Court or of Chancery.
- (obsolete) A senior; an elder; a predecessor.
- Junius and Andronicus […] in Christianity […] were his ancients.
- The Manual of Heraldry, Fifth Edition, by Anonymous, London, 1862, online at 
- ancient in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- ancient in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- ancient at OneLook Dictionary Search
Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: reach · secret · showed · #672: ancient · parts · getting · stay