As lovers of antique pocket watches and vintage timepieces in general we decided to take a look into the past to discover the etymology, otherwise known as the word history, of the word ‘antique’.
The word antique originally surfaced in its written form of the English language as an adjective during the 1530s, used as a word to define ‘venerable’ or ‘aged’. Although the English say the word with a French-style pronunciation, we actually only adopted this during the 1700, and was initially pronounced more similarly to the English-sounding ‘antic’. Delving back further, we find that the word derives from the Middle French word antique, which initially appeared in the 14th century, used quite simply as a way in which to describe something as old.
What’s more is that antique can then be found even further back than to the Latin language, where anticus or antiquus was used in a number of similar ways, for example, aged, of older times, ancient, or long in existence. Before this existed the Proto-Indo-European meaning, anti, which has the more basic definition of ‘before’.
‘Antique’, as a word, was then implemented as a noun, and here is where we arrive at the way we use the word today. Originally recorded in 1771, and being used to denote an old and collectible item. It was additionally modified later into verb form, which was documented far further down the line in 1896, signifying ‘to give an antique appearance to’.