[ awl-der-muhn ]
/ ˈɔl dər mən /
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noun, plural al·der·men.
a member of a municipal legislative body, especially of a municipal council.
(in England) one of the members, chosen by the elected councilors, in a borough or county council.
Early English History.
  1. a chief.
  2. (later) the chief magistrate of a county or group of counties.
Northern U.S. Slang. a pot belly.
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Origin of alderman

before 900; Middle English; Old English (e)aldormann, equivalent to ealdor chief, patriarch (ealdold + -or noun suffix) + mannman

usage note for alderman

See -man.


al·der·man·cy, al·der·man·ship, nounal·der·man·ic [awl-der-man-ik], /ˌɔl dərˈmæn ɪk/, adjectiveun·der·al·der·man, noun, plural un·der·al·der·men.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use alderman in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alderman

/ (ˈɔːldəmən) /

noun plural -men
(in England and Wales until 1974) one of the senior members of a local council, elected by other councillors
(in the US, Canada, Australia, etc) a member of the governing body of a municipality
history a variant spelling of ealdorman
Abbreviations (for senses 1, 2): Ald, Aldm

Derived forms of alderman

aldermanic (ˌɔːldəˈmænɪk), adjectivealdermanry, nounaldermanship, noun

Word Origin for alderman

Old English aldormann, from ealdor chief (comparative of eald old) + mann man
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

Cultural definitions for alderman

[ (awl-duhr-muhn) ]

A member of a city council. Aldermen usually represent city districts, called wards, and work with the mayor to run the city government. Jockeying among aldermen for political influence is often associated with machine politics.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.