Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


[el-der-lee] /ˈɛl dər li/
of advanced age; old:
discounts for elderly patrons.
of or relating to persons in later life.
(used with a plural verb) elderly people collectively; senior citizens (usually preceded by the):
Doctors recommend that young children and the elderly get vaccinated.
Origin of elderly
First recorded in 1605-15; elder1 + -ly
Related forms
elderliness, noun
nonelderly, noun
unelderly, adjective
1. See old. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for elderly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Everything in the world that you want," begged the elderly gentleman.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He smiled' at Miss Gregg, who was elderly and gray, but visibly his creature.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • One was an elderly savage, with a wrinkled, shrewd countenance.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • There was an elderly lady who insisted on telling John all about the gastric juices!

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
British Dictionary definitions for elderly


adjective (of people)
  1. quite old; past middle age
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the): the elderly, related adjective geriatric
Derived Forms
elderliness, noun
Usage note
Referring to any group using the formula the elderly, the disabled is nowadays felt to be inappropriate because it glosses over people's individuality and perpetuates stereotypes. It is preferable to use phrases such as disabled people and so forth. Many people also prefer to talk about older rather than elderly people for similar reasons
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for elderly

1610s, from elder + -ly (1). Old English ealdorlic meant "chief, princely, excellent, authentic." Old English also had related eldernliche "of old time," literally "forefatherly."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for elderly

Word Value for elderly

Scrabble Words With Friends