cen·​te·​nar·​i·​an | \ ˌsen-tə-ˈner-ē-ən How to pronounce centenarian (audio) , -ˈne-rē-\

Definition of centenarian

: one that is 100 years old or older

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from centenarian

centenarian adjective

Did You Know?

We can't say there are exactly 100 English words based on the Latin root centum, meaning "hundred," but there are certainly dozens. "Centenarian" isn't the oldest one; it only dates from the late 1700s. Far older is "centurion" (an ancient Roman military officer), which has been around since the 13th century. A younger "centum" offspring is "centisecond," a rare term for 1/100 of a second that dates from the 1950s. From colorful words such as "centicipitous" (which means "100-headed") to practical ones like "centgener" ("a device for planting 100 seeds"), "centum" descendants have enlivened our language for centuries.

Examples of centenarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

By age 85, women outnumber men 2 to 1, and most centenarians (81%) are women, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates. WSJ, "The Five Top Experts Posts of 2018 on Protecting Your Financial Future," 7 Jan. 2019 One adventurous centenarian recently celebrated his 100th birthday in a major way — by leaping out of a plane at 14,000 feet. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Seattle man celebrates 100th birthday with skydive: 'It's a real piece of cake'," 27 July 2018 Last week, venerated Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas officially became a centenarian, celebrating his 100th birthday on December 9. Michelle Profis, Country Living, "Catherine Zeta-Jones Wished Father-in-Law Kirk Douglas a Happy Birthday in the Sweetest Way," 12 Dec. 2016 Japan is home to more than 67,000 centenarians, including the world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old woman. Washington Post, "Japan ex-PM Nakasone, witness to war and success, turns 100," 26 May 2018 That may be one reason this lively centenarian has an extraordinary memory for someone her age, suggests a recent study highlighting a notable link between brain health and positive relationships. Judith Graham, courant.com, "An Active Social Life May Be A Secret To Brain Health," 1 June 2018 In 2000, there were 50,281 centenarians and in 2014 there were 72,197; a 44 percent increase. Houston Chronicle, "How to “live long and prosper”," 7 July 2018 Exactly how long centenarians live may simply be a roll of the dice each year. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "How Long Can We Live? The Limit Hasn’t Been Reached, Study Finds," 28 June 2018 According to a National Center for Health Statistics brief from January 2016, there were 72,197 people aged 100 or over in 2014, a 43.6 percent increase from the number in 2000, 50,281, though centenarians remain uncommon. Leah Brennan, Columbia Flier, "The birthday cake for Columbia's 'Mama Mia' has 100 candles," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'centenarian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of centenarian

1747, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about centenarian

Share centenarian

Listen to Our Podcast about centenarian

Statistics for centenarian

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for centenarian

The first known use of centenarian was in 1747

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for centenarian



English Language Learners Definition of centenarian

: a person who is 100 years old or older

More from Merriam-Webster on centenarian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with centenarian

Comments on centenarian

What made you want to look up centenarian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a shady place in a garden or forest

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!