[ sep-choo-aj-uh-ner-ee, -too-, -tyoo- or, especially British, -choo-uh-jee-nuh-ree ]
/ ˌsɛp tʃuˈædʒ əˌnɛr i, -tu-, -tyu- or, especially British, -tʃu əˈdʒi nə ri /
Save This Word!

adjective, noun, plural sep·tu·ag·e·nar·ies.
Compete in our Olympics quiz to see if you can take home the gold medal in Olympics knowledge.
Question 1 of 10
Where was the Olympics first held?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of septuagenary

1595–1605; <Latin septuāgēnārius, equivalent to septuāgēn(ī) seventy each (distributive of septuāgintā seventy) + -ārius-ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does septuagenary mean?

Septuagenary is a less common word for a septuagenarian—someone in their 70s (70 to 79 years old), or someone who is 70 years old.

Like septuagenarian, septuagenary can also be used as an adjective to describe someone in their 70s, as in Our audience is mostly made up of septuagenary women, or things related to such a person, as in I have entered my septuagenary years. 

The similar term sexagenary can refer to or describe someone in their 60s. Terms with the same ending as septuagenarian include quadragenarian (40s), quinquagenarian (50s), sexagenarian (60s), octogenarian (80s), and nonagenarian (90s). Such words are more commonly used as people get older: quadragenarian and quinquagenarian are rarely used, but septuagenarian and octogenarian are more commonly used.

Example: Today is my last day as a septuagenary—tomorrow I begin my 80s!

Where does septuagenary come from?

The first records of the word septuagenary come from around 1600. The word septuagenary comes from the Latin word septuāgēnārius, from septuāgēn(ī), meaning “seventy each,” from septuāgintā, “seventy.” The suffix -ary is used to indicate a person (as seen in common words like secretary).

It’s much more common to refer to someone as a 70-year-old or describe them as in their 70s or 70-something than to call them a septuagenarian, and it’s even less common to call them a septuagenary. But septuagenarian and septuagenary can be used as a fancy or fun way of referring to someone of that age, including by septuagenaries who apply it to themselves. As much fun as it is to say, it’s perhaps more often used in writing. It’s sometimes used in the context of highlighting a person who’s doing something that may be surprising for their age, as in My septuagenary yoga instructor is way more flexible than I am.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to septuagenary?

  • septuagenaries (plural)

What are some synonyms for septuagenary?

  • septuagenarian
  • 70-year-old
  • seventy-year-old
  • 70-something
  • seventy-something

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

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

How is septuagenary used in real life?

Septuagenary is rarely used. Septuagenarian is much more common.


Try using septuagenary!

Is septuagenary used correctly in the following sentence?

Most of my fondest memories have come from my septuagenary years.

How to use septuagenary in a sentence