ancient


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.

(as) ancient as the hills

Very old. Oh, she's ancient as the hills, she can't hear us. Why don't we ever sing new songs? Those hymns are as ancient as the hills.
See also: ancient, hill

ancient history

slang Something that is very outdated or totally forgotten (often in favor of a more recent development). Oh, Jack is ancient history, we broke up weeks ago! Her interest in photography is ancient history now that she's started doing yoga.
See also: ancient, history

the Ancient of Days

A name for the Christian God, as used in Daniel 7:9 in the Bible. So many people get lost in the consumer frenzy of Christmas that they forget to celebrate it as the moment when the Ancient of Days came to Earth in human form.
See also: ancient, days, of

ancient history

Fig. someone or something from so long ago as to be completely forgotten or no longer important, as a former relationship. Bob? I never think about Bob anymore. He's ancient history. His interest in joining the army is now ancient history.
See also: ancient, history

ancient history

A past event, as in She's talking about her sea voyage, but that's ancient history, or And then there was his divorce, but you don't want to hear ancient history. This hyperbolic idiom transfers the field of ancient history to a much-repeated tale.
See also: ancient, history

the ancient of Days

a biblical title for God, taken from Daniel 7:9.
See also: ancient, days, of

ancient (or old) as the hills

of very long standing or very great age.
Hills are used in the Bible as a metaphor for permanence.
See also: ancient, hill

ancient history

n. someone or something completely forgotten, especially past romances. (see also history.) That business about joining the army is ancient history.
See also: ancient, history
References in classic literature ?
Half-way to the steamer the ancient ceased wheezing and spoke, nodding his head at Michael.
There was no further conversation from the ancient, and though he lived long years after, he never mentioned the midnight passenger in the canoe who carried Michael away with him.
At last, away in the middle of the day, ancient bite of wall and crumbling arches began to line the way--we toiled up one more hill, and every pilgrim and every sinner swung his hat on high!
Just after noon we entered these narrow, crooked streets, by the ancient and the famed Damascus Gate, and now for several hours I have been trying to comprehend that I am actually in the illustrious old city where Solomon dwelt, where Abraham held converse with the Deity, and where walls still stand that witnessed the spectacle of the Crucifixion.
If history had retained the conception of the ancients it would have said that God, to reward or punish his people, gave Napoleon power and directed his will to the fulfillment of the divine ends, and that reply, would have been clear and complete.
Science does not admit the conception of the ancients as to the direct participation of the Deity in human affairs, and therefore history ought to give other answers.
He who is acquainted with the distribution of existing species over the globe, will not attempt to account for the close resemblance of the distinct species in closely consecutive formations, by the physical conditions of the ancient areas having remained nearly the same.
Agassiz insists that ancient animals resemble to a certain extent the embryos of recent animals of the same classes; or that the geological succession of extinct forms is in some degree parallel to the embryological development of recent forms.
"There's a part of the United States of North America that used to be known to the ancients as New England," he replied.
This they did, as is testified to by a long list of books and magazine articles since turned out by the scientist, dealing strictly with archaeo- logical subjects, touching on the ancient Mayan race and its civilization, with particular reference to their system of computing time.
Professor Beecher, young and foolish, would not consent to delve into the riches of the ancient city, being too much chagrined over the loss of the idol.
Yet Horace Walpole wrote a goblin tale which has thrilled through many a bosom; and George Ellis could transfer all the playful fascination of a humour, as delightful as it was uncommon, into his Abridgement of the Ancient Metrical Romances.
In point of justice, therefore, to the multitudes who will, I trust, devour this book with avidity, I have so far explained our ancient manners in modern language, and so far detailed the characters and sentiments of my persons, that the modern reader will not find himself, I should hope, much trammelled by the repulsive dryness of mere antiquity.
"That which is no longer dangerous for a modern vessel, well rigged, strongly built, and master of its own course, thanks to obedient steam, offered all sorts of perils to the ships of the ancients. Picture to yourself those first navigators venturing in ships made of planks sewn with the cords of the palmtree, saturated with the grease of the seadog, and covered with powdered resin!
The deep deposit of dust which he had noticed upon the blocks as he had first removed them from the wall had convinced him that even if the present occupants of the ancient pile had knowledge of this hidden passage they had made no use of it for perhaps generations.