[ jer-ee-a-trik, jeer- ]
/ ˌdʒɛr iˈæ trɪk, ˌdʒɪər- /
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See synonyms for: geriatric / geriatrics on Thesaurus.com

of or relating to geriatrics or old age: the hospital's geriatric ward.
noting or relating to aged people or animals: geriatric patients;a geriatric pet.
old, outmoded, or worn out by long use: The company is suffering from geriatric factories and manufacturing technologies.
Often Offensive. an aged person.
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Origin of geriatric

First recorded in 1925–30; from Greek gér(ōn) “old man” + iatric
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does geriatric mean?

Geriatric is an adjective that means relating to old age or the care of aged people.

A common use of geriatric is in the phrase geriatric medicine (also called geriatrics), which is the branch of medicine dealing with the care of aged persons.

Although geriatric was once used in the medical field as a noun meaning an older person, that use is now considered offensive. It is also considered offensive when used as an adjective to describe a thing (such as a machine) that’s worn out or useless.

Example: Since older people face unique health risks, it’s important for them to see doctors who specialize in treating geriatric patients.

Where does geriatric come from?

The first records of geriatric in English come from the 1920s. Geriatric is formed from the Greek gēras, meaning “old age” (also seen in gerontology, which is the science of aging) and the suffix iatric, which means “of or relating to a physician or medicine” (as in pediatrics and bariatric).

Getting old is complicated, and aging comes with a lot of challenges. Some of the common health issues that geriatric patients face include an increased risk of falls, muscle loss and weakness, and gradual or sudden deterioration of mental capacity. But geriatric medicine isn’t just about having older people get extra checkups. Mental health and medical professionals often have additional training to prepare to treat older people, and some even specialize in the care of geriatric patients, often incorporating multiple approaches to treat both physical and mental health.

But not all aged people are frail, and geriatric simply refers to old age—it doesn’t imply illness or poor health. For this reason, using geriatric as a way of saying that someone is physically or mentally feeble is inappropriate.

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What are some other forms of geriatric?

  • geriatrics (noun)

What are some synonyms for geriatric?

What are some words that share a root or word element with geriatric

What are some words that often get used in discussing geriatric?

How is geriatric​ used in real life?

Geriatric is most often used in the context of the medical care of older persons.



Try using geriatric!

Which of the following terms is least likely to be used in relation to geriatric?

A. old age
B. eldercare
C. aging population
D. youth

How to use geriatric in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for geriatric

/ (ˌdʒɛrɪˈætrɪk) /

of or relating to geriatric medicine or to older people
offensive (of people or machines) old, obsolescent, worn out, or useless
old-fashioned, offensive an elderly person
informal, offensive an older person considered as one who may be disregarded as senile or unable to look after his or her own best interests

Word Origin for geriatric

C20: from Greek gēras old age + iatric
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