[ el-der-lee ]
See synonyms for elderly on Thesaurus.com
  1. of advanced age; old: discounts for elderly patrons.

  2. of or relating to persons in later life.

noun(used with a plural verb)
  1. Usually the elderly . elderly people collectively; senior citizens.

Origin of elderly

First recorded in 1605–15; elder1 + -ly

Other words from elderly

  • eld·er·li·ness, noun
  • non·eld·er·ly, noun
  • un·eld·er·ly, adjective

Words Nearby elderly

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use elderly in a sentence

  • elderly matrons—and in Turkey every lady is an elderly matron in her fortieth year—are passionately devoted to this enjoyment.

  • The admiration of numerous elderly ladies of single condition.

  • As they went up the walkway, the large front doors parted, and a handsome elderly woman came forth.

    The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
  • "I'm afraid not," replied the maid, a plain, elderly woman of the old-fashioned useful servant type.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • On one side of her sat the elder Mrs. Colton, in black silk with a point-lace collar; a sweet-faced frankly elderly woman.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton

British Dictionary definitions for elderly


/ (ˈɛldəlɪ) /

adjective(of people)
    • quite old; past middle age

    • (as collective noun; preceded by the): the elderly Related adjective: geriatric

usage For elderly

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

Derived forms of elderly

  • elderliness, noun

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