Definition of antiquity in English:

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Pronunciation: /anˈtikwədē/

noun (plural antiquities)

1The ancient past, especially the period before the Middle Ages: the great civilizations of antiquity
More example sentences
  • Some of the classical cities of antiquity, notably Athens and Rome, became dependent on trade by sea to import the building materials and foodstuffs necessary to maintain both their populations and their navies.
  • The poem was accepted as Hesiod's in antiquity, but various indications point to the period 580-520 BC.
  • Its counterpart in antiquity was not Plato's philosophy, but Ptolemy's astronomy, which depended on actual measurements, while the former sought eternal truth beyond all possible measurement.
ancient times, the ancient past, classical times, the distant past
1.1 (usually antiquities) An object, building, or work of art from the ancient past: an extensive collection of Greek antiquities
More example sentences
  • Paintings, works on paper and antiquities were stored and displayed in various buildings throughout the campus.
  • Defying the age of celebrity, and resisting the lucrative market for antiquities, the property owner kept mum about his treasure for decades.
  • Gauguin's primitivist pottery lives happily within the same walls as ancient Egyptian antiquities.
antique, period piece, collector's item
2Great age: a church of great antiquity
More example sentences
  • It is an unwritten code that wherever possible churches with antiquity would be preserved.
  • Montesquieu, Smith and Tocqueville were forced to theorize about the antiquity of the institutions and culture which underlay modernity and its origins in England.
  • Historians continue to debate the antiquity and plausibility of his discovery.


Middle English: from Old French antiquite, from Latin antiquitas, from antiquus 'old, former' (see antique).

  • This word comes from Latin antiquitas, from antiquus ‘old, former’ developed from ante ‘before’ ( see ante). Antics (early 16th century) is from the same source by way of Italian antico ‘antique’, used to mean grotesque, and as a term for the grinning faces carved on architecture fashionable at the time. From this it came to be used for grotesque behaviour.

Words that rhyme with antiquity

iniquity, obliquity, ubiquity

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: an·tiq·ui·ty

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