cen·​te·​nar·​i·​an ˌsen-tə-ˈner-ē-ən How to pronounce centenarian (audio)
: one that is 100 years old or older
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 More sunlight, more water, more good food, more physical activity, and more community — that seems to be the makings of a Nicoya centenarian. Samantha Leal, Travel + Leisure, 8 Nov. 2023 New research shows that centenarians—or people who live to 100 or beyond—may have lower (but not too low) levels of glucose, uric acid, and creatinine in their blood. Brian Mastroianni, Health, 31 Oct. 2023 Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff Dr. Thomas Perls, a Boston University researcher who has the largest study of centenarians and their families in the world, sat with Herlda Senhouse. Kay Lazar, BostonGlobe.com, 6 May 2023 After interviewing 300 of Barbagia's centenarians, Pes determined that the steepness does play a factor in life longevity because walking up them entails an additional energy expenditure. Ana Morales, Vogue, 2 Oct. 2023 In a sense, all centenarians, regardless of race and ethnicity, are black swans. William J. Kole, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Sep. 2023 While these centenarians aren't necessarily completely vegan, their diets do have a predominant focus on plants. Good Housekeeping, 8 Sep. 2023 And by 2050, the population of centenarians — those who live to 100 or older — will swell to 3.7 million, more than everyone now living in Connecticut. William J. Kole, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Sep. 2023 The life expectancy has grown by 20 years since 1960, and the number of centenarians doubled in the last decade, Buettner writes in his book. Byalexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 29 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'centenarian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1747, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of centenarian was in 1747


Dictionary Entries Near centenarian

Cite this Entry

“Centenarian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centenarian. Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


cen·​te·​nar·​i·​an ˌsent-ᵊn-ˈer-ē-ən How to pronounce centenarian (audio)
: a person 100 years old or older
centenarian adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on centenarian

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