Assuming that time zero was the big bang and "time" before that did not exist, what is the term to describe something that has existed since "time" began and will continue till "time" ends. I understand that realistically we might never use this term. (Big bang is just a reference, I just wanted to refer to the "beginning of time")

We have terms like omnipresent and omniscient, for place and knowledge/information, but what about time?

Do eternal or sempiternal correctly define it? Is there a word like omnichronos?

  • Did you find the dictionary definition of eternal unclear? Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 13:02
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    Did you find a word like omichronos in any dictionary? Also, if you look up eternal you'll see it means "without beginning or end," so it is not limited to the future.
    – Robusto
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 13:27
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    It would be spelled omnichronous … if it existed.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 15:01
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    I'm voting to reopen. So far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on the most suitable term, and ELU is a relatively sophisticated adjudicator on such matters. Frankly, I think it's ludicrous to close the question on the grounds OP should have just Googled it. And what? Found "Eternal" really is the "right" word? More likely "Grammar Nazis discovered hiding in ELU" Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 22:35
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    Is this existential question any the inferior to "What's the correct term for the word potato chips?"? [english.stackexchange.com/questions/53873/… I would like this to reopen, as well.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 10, 2012 at 10:08

3 Answers 3


"Eternal" means not only endless future but also endless past. It derives from Latin aeviternus, "of great age".¹ It is commonly used in this sense. For example, Google [ eternal father ], and you will find that the phrase is often used to mean a supernatural being said to exist for all time. (The Navy and the Mormons are particularly fond of it.)

The other word which pretty well fills the bill for both the past and the future is "ageless".

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    From the dictionary on my computer ... Everlasting refers to something that will continue to exist once it is created, while eternal implies that it has always existed and will continue to exist in the future.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 16:24

I think words like everlasting and eternal are firmly rooted in the religious framework that primarily associates these qualities with God.

Since OP defines the "beginning of time" as the Big Bang, rather than part of the biblical act of creation, I think a "secular/scientific" term might be more appropriate...

atemporal - independent of or unaffected by time, timeless.

I would say anything which exists independent of time must de facto exist throughout all time.

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    Or independence of time and existence for all time may be mutually exclusive.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 20:21

Though in Medieval theology, "eternal" was understood to mean "existing outside of time", rather than "existing since the beginning of time". It's an important distinction in theological and philosophical discussions.


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