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  1. any shrub or tree belonging to the genus Alnus, of the birch family, growing in moist places in northern temperate or colder regions and having toothed, simple leaves and flowers in catkins.
  2. any of various trees or shrubs resembling an alder.

Origin of alder

before 900; Middle English alder, aller, Old English alor, al(e)r; cognate with Old Norse ǫlr, Middle Low German al(l)er < Germanic *álusṓ; akin to Middle High German alze < Germanic *alū́sō, Old High German elira, erila (German Erle) < Germanic *álisṓ, Middle Low German els(e) < Germanic *alísō, hence Germanic *álus, alísō; compare Polish olcha, Russian olʾkhá < Indo-European dialect *alisā; Lithuanian al̃ksnis, Latin alnus < Indo-European dialect *alsnos


[ahl-der; German ahl-duhr]
  1. Kurt [kurt; German koort] /kɜrt; German kʊərt/, 1902–58, German chemist: Nobel Prize 1950.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alder

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They have been down all the morning at the pool where the alder is, trying to catch that bull-trout.'

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • I wouldn't go down by the stream, Barbara—not to the pool where the alder is.

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • Ellen, I think I should like to have that alder tree cut down.

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • Mr. Alder is on other business that he had to attend to at the editor's request.

  • Alder makes a fine sweet smoke, but we didn't have any alder, up here.

British Dictionary definitions for alder


  1. any N temperate betulaceous shrub or tree of the genus Alnus, having toothed leaves and conelike fruits. The bark is used in dyeing and tanning and the wood for bridges, etc because it resists underwater rot
  2. any of several similar trees or shrubs

Word Origin

Old English alor; related to Old High German elira, Latin alnus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for alder


tree related to the birch, Old English alor "alder" (with intrusive -d- added 14c.; the historical form aller survived until 18c. in literary English and persists in dialects, e.g. Lancashire owler, which is partly from Norse), from Proto-Germanic *aliso (cf. Old Norse ölr, Danish elle, Swedish al, Dutch els, German erle), from *el-, the ancient PIE name of the tree (cf. Russian olicha, Polish olcha, Latin alnus, Lithuanian alksnis).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alder in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. German chemist. He shared a 1950 Nobel Prize for discoveries concerning the structure of organic matter.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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