Time immemorial

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For the 1984 book on the Arab-Israeli conflict, see From Time Immemorial.

Time immemorial is a phrase meaning time extending beyond the reach of memory, record, or tradition, indefinitely ancient, "ancient beyond memory or record".[1] The phrase is one of the few cases in the English language where the adjective is a postmodifier—some other phrases, such as the legal terms attorney general and court-martial, also follow that pattern, largely due to the influence of Norman French.

In law, it means that a property or benefit has been enjoyed for so long that its owner does not have to prove how they came to own it. The term has been formally defined for some purposes:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (1971 ed.), Vol. I, p. 63c
  2. ^ Blackstone (1765) Commentary I viii 281
  3. ^ The public domain Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
  4. ^ Statute of Westminster, The First (3 Edw. I cap. 5)
  5. ^ Prescription Act, The (2 & 3 Will. IV cap. 71) s.1
  6. ^ About the College of Arms College of Arms (retrieved 24 May 2010)

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