I am looking for a word to contrast with neophile. Just as a neophile loves novelty for the sake of it, I want to describe a person who loves old or ancient things (may include the abstract, e.g. tradition or bygone mannerisms).

A neophobe is ruled out, since that is merely a rejection of newness. Antiquarian comes to mind, but that seems to be specifically for human history (its objects and trivia). The word I'm after could refer to someone who loves fossils or ancient rocks (of which there are many. . .).

So, what word describes a person who loves an object or concept on account of its age? Perhaps archaeophile or paleophile?

  • 2
    Given all your strictures, I like your paleophile better than any of those below. If you really want to rub it in, *palæophile"! – StoneyB Aug 23 '12 at 21:40
  • @StoneyB Do you think a reader could suss out the meaning (in context) without the need for exposition? I'd want to avoid something like: "Her love of anything with a history behind it, from fossils to Fabergé eggs, made her a certified paleophile." – Zairja Aug 24 '12 at 12:52
  • 1
    If you're in doubt, turn it around. "She was a certifiable palaeophile: she loved anything with a history behind it, &c". Certifiable rather than certified, unless she was actually designated as a sufferer from this disorder by a competent authority! – StoneyB Aug 24 '12 at 15:17
  • @StoneyB Point taken, though if she compulsively buys everything at thrift stores and skips work to watch "The History Channel" then treatment might be imminent ;) – Zairja Aug 24 '12 at 15:31
  • Antiquarian seems better than the alternatives, notwithstanding your objection. – Charles Jun 18 '14 at 17:19

In normal usage, I think the word is "traditionalist".

"Paleophile" would be a better word but I don't find it in any dictionary: it's not an accepted word.

  • I think I'll go with "paleophile". "Traditionalist" doesn't really apply since it's limited to human customs and I need a word that extends to anything of great age, like pyramids or the Acasta Gneisses. – Zairja Aug 24 '12 at 12:57
  • 2
    careful! that word has strong paraphilic connotations – user49727 Aug 15 '13 at 20:37
  • According to urban dictionary "Paleophilia" means something else! urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Paleophilia – Jayesh May 25 '17 at 0:36

There's retrophiliac who is "someone who has a strong liking for things from the past". I'm not sure if "ancient" is retro enough or if it's limited to the material ... But there you go.

Nostalgia is also a possibility if the period in question isn't as expansive.

  • 1
    +1 See also this link – bib Aug 23 '12 at 21:19
  • @bib Some of the related words on that page are quite amusing. Ostalgia: "Nostalgia for the goods, symbols, and culture of the former East Germany"; Nanostalgia: "Nostalgia for an event that has only just finished" ... :) – coleopterist Aug 24 '12 at 4:42
  • +1 although its usage seems based on retro (the style), at least it has some precedence unlike the neologisms I suggested – Zairja Aug 24 '12 at 12:38

I like the rare and probably recently made-up "archaiphile."

  • The normal combining form of the root in "archaic" is "archæo" (and its spelling variants "archeo" and "archaeo") as in "archaeology." Occasionally, people use a slightly different transcription from the Greek, in which case we would spell this form "archaio." So "archaiphile" is not well-formed: it would be better to suggest "archaeophile." But the original poster was already aware of this root anyway; can you explain why you like it and why it is a good choice? – sumelic Jun 27 '16 at 20:47

protected by tchrist Apr 23 '16 at 4:26

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.