1 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. Witness those ancient empires of the earth. Milton. Gildas Albanius . . . much ancienter than his namesake surnamed the Wise. Fuller.
2 Old; that has been of long duration; of long standing; of great age; as, an ancient forest; an ancient castle. “Our ancient bickerings.” Shak. Remove not the ancient landmarks, which thy fathers have set. Prov. xxii. 28. An ancient man, strangely habited, asked for quarters. Scott.
3 Known for a long time, or from early times; — opposed to recent or new; as, the ancient continent. A friend, perhaps, or an ancient acquaintance. Barrow.
4 Dignified, like an aged man; magisterial; venerable. [Archaic] He wrought but some few hours of the day, and then would he seem very grave and ancient. Holland.
5 Experienced; versed. [Obs.] Though [he] was the youngest brother, yet he was the most ancient in the business of the realm. Berners.
6 Former; sometime. [Obs.] They mourned their ancient leader lost. Pope. Ancient demesne (Eng. Law), a tenure by which all manors belonging to the crown, in the reign of William the Conqueror, were held. The numbers, names, etc., of these were all entered in a book called Domesday Book.
Those who lived in former ages, as opposed to the moderns.
2 An aged man; a patriarch. Hence: A governor; a ruler; a person of influence. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof. Isa. iii. 14.
3 A senior; an elder; a predecessor. [Obs.] Junius and Andronicus . . . in Christianity . . . were his ancients. Hooker.
4 pl. (Eng. Law)
One of the senior members of the Inns of Court or of Chancery. Council of Ancients (French Hist.), one of the two assemblies composing the legislative bodies in 1795. Brande.
1 An ensign or flag. [Obs.] More dishonorable ragged than an old-faced ancient. Shak.
2 The bearer of a flag; an ensign. [Obs.] This is Othello’s ancient, as I take it. Shak.