adjective a compar. of old with eldest as superl.
- elburz mountains,
- elder brethren,
- elder edda,
- elder statesman,
- elder stateswoman,
Origin of elder1
Origin of elder2
adjective, old·er, old·est or eld·er, eld·est.
Origin of old
Examples from the Web for elder
“Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer,” the elder Brown had said last week in a public-service video.
He speaks of her much as he might of his elder son, the SEAL.For Next AG, Obama Picks a Quiet Fighter With a Heavy Punch|Michael Daly|November 8, 2014|DAILY BEAST
William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, was in rare agreement with the elder Paul.Republican Hawks Already Have a War Plan for ISIS, Ukraine, and Obama|Eli Lake|November 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
“I think sometimes overreaction can become very dangerous as well,” said the elder Paul.Ebola Scare-Mongerer Rand Paul Wants You to Think You’re Going to Die|Sally Kohn|October 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Elder and the NFB have approached Uber with their own set of suggestions.
The elder woman remonstrated feebly, but the girl swept her aside.The Doomsman|Van Tassel Sutphen
My uncle had often during the previous twenty years, crossed the mountains, on trapping expeditions with an elder brother.Christopher Carson|John S. C. Abbott
It was late at night when Elder Kinney went home from the bedside of the dying woman.Saxe Holm's Stories|Helen Hunt Jackson
"You may call it that," retorted the elder man with a fleeting smile as Kirkwood slipped inside the dooryard.The Black Bag|Louis Joseph Vance
It was the prevailing belief during the middle ages, that the tree on which Judas hanged himself was an elder.The Vision and Creed of Piers Ploughman, Volume II of II|William Langland
- prior in rank, position, or office
- of a previous time; former
Word Origin for elder
Word Origin for elder
- of or relating to advanced years or a long lifeold age
- (as collective noun; preceded by the)the old
- old and youngpeople of all ages
- (postpositive)having lived or existed for a specified perioda child who is six years old
- (in combination)a six-year-old child
- (as noun in combination)a six-year-old
- (prenominal)established for a relatively long timean old member
- (in combination)old-established
Word Origin for old
"more old," Old English (Mercian) eldra, comparative of eald, ald (see old); only English survival of umlaut in comparison. Superseded by older since 16c. Elder statesman (1921) originally was a translation of Japanese genro (plural).
type of berry tree, c.1400, from earlier ellen, from Old English ellæn, ellærn "elderberry tree," origin unknown, perhaps related to alder. Common Germanic, cf. Old Saxon elora, Middle Low German elre, Old High German elira, German Eller, Erle. Related: Elderberry.
"senior citizen," c.1200, from Old English eldra "older person, parent" (used in biblical translation for Greek presbyter); see elder (adj.). The Old English for "grandfather" was ealdfæder.
Old English ald (Anglian), eald (West Saxon) "aged, antique, primeval; elder, experienced," from West Germanic *althas "grown up, adult" (cf. Old Frisian ald, Gothic alþeis, Dutch oud, German alt), originally a past participle stem of a verb meaning "grow, nourish" (cf. Gothic alan "to grow up," Old Norse ala "to nourish"), from PIE root *al- "to grow, nourish" (cf. Greek aldaino "make grow, strengthen," althein, althainein "to get well;" Latin alere "to feed, nourish, bring up, increase," altus "high," literally "grown tall," almus "nurturing, nourishing," alumnus "fosterling, step-child;" Old Irish alim "I nourish").
The usual PIE root is *sen- (see senior (adj.)). A few Indo-European languages distinguish words for "old" (vs. young) from words for "old" (vs. new), and some have separate words for aged persons as opposed to old things. Latin senex was used of aged living things, mostly persons, while vetus (literally "having many years") was used of inanimate things. Greek geraios was used mostly of humans; Greek palaios was used mostly of things, of persons only in a derogatory sense. Greek also had arkhaios, literally "belonging to the beginning," which parallels French ancien, used mostly with reference to things "of former times."
Old English also had fyrn "ancient," related to Old English feor "far, distant" (see far, and cf. Gothic fairneis, Old Norse forn "old, of old, of former times," Old High German firni "old, experienced"). The original Old English vowel is preserved in Scots auld, also in alderman. The original comparative and superlative (elder, eldest) are retained in particular uses.
First record of old-timer is from 1860. Expression old as the hills first recorded 1819. The good old days dates from 1828. Of old "of old times" is from late 14c. Old Glory for "the American flag" is first attested 1862. Old maid "woman who remains single well beyond the usual marrying age" is from 1520s; the card game is attested by that name from 1844. Old man "man who has lived long" is from c.1200; sense of "husband, father, boss" is from 1854, earlier (1830) it was military slang for "commanding officer;" old lady "wife, mother" is attested from c.1775. Old English is attested from 1701, originally as a type of font. Old boy originally was a former pupil of one of the English public schools. Old Testament attested from mid-14c.
In addition to the idioms beginning with old
- old as Adam
- old chestnut
- old college try, the
- old saw
- old shoe
- old stamping ground
- old story, an
- old wives' tale
- any old
- chip off the old block
- comfortable as an old shoe
- dirty joke (old man)
- get the air (old heave-ho)
- no fool like an old fool
- of old
- ripe old age
- same old story
- settle a score (old scores)
- stamping ground, old
- teach an old dog new tricks
- up to one's old tricks