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Reflects Proto-Indo-European *h₂énti-h₃kʷ-o-s (literally facing the front), from the same roots whence ante (in front of) and oculus (eye).[1] Compare Sanskrit अन्तिक (antiká, near, in the vicinity; nearness, proximity), which is however derived from *h₂enti-kó-s, with diminutive suffix. Sense 5 could be a calque of Ancient Greek πρέσβυς (présbus).[1]



antīquus (feminine antīqua, neuter antīquum, comparative antīquior, superlative antīquissimus); first/second-declension adjective

  1. old, ancient
    Synonyms: vetus, prīscus, longinquus, vetustus
  2. aged
    Synonyms: prīscus, prīstinus, senex, vetus, vetustus
    Antonyms: novus, recēns
  3. time-honoured, bygone
  4. simple, venerable
  5. (only superlative or comparative) the most important, valued, dear, precious
    Synonyms: pretiōsus, cārus, impēnsus, dīves
    Antonym: vīlis
  6. classic, traditional, essential


First/second-declension adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative antīquus antīqua antīquum antīquī antīquae antīqua
Genitive antīquī antīquae antīquī antīquōrum antīquārum antīquōrum
Dative antīquō antīquō antīquīs
Accusative antīquum antīquam antīquum antīquōs antīquās antīqua
Ablative antīquō antīquā antīquō antīquīs
Vocative antīque antīqua antīquum antīquī antīquae antīqua

Related terms[edit]

Descendant notes[edit]

Due to the regular sound change /kʷu/ > /ku/, the masculine antīquus was pronounced with /k/ (and indeed often spelled ⟨anticus⟩). The feminine antīqua, on the other hand, retained /kʷ/. In Romance, this /k~kʷ/ alternation persisted in Old French, Old Spanish, and Old Portuguese (see below). In all Romance languages, the alternation was sooner or later leveled by analogy.



  1. 1.0 1.1 De Vaan, Michiel (2008) “ante”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 45

Further reading[edit]

  • antiquus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • antiquus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • antiquus in Enrico Olivetti, editor (2003-2024), Dizionario Latino, Olivetti Media Communication
  • antiquus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • antiquus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • in old days, in the olden time: antiquis temporibus
    • to restore a man to his former position: aliquem in antiquum statum, in pristinum restituere