el·der·ly | \ˈel-dər-lē \

Definition of elderly 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : rather old especially : being past middle age

b : old-fashioned

2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of later life or elderly persons


plural elderly or elderlies

Definition of elderly (Entry 2 of 2)

: an elderly person

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from elderly


elderliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for elderly

Synonyms: Adjective

aged, aging (or ageing), ancient, geriatric, long-lived, old, older, senescent, senior

Antonyms: Adjective

young, youthful

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of elderly in a Sentence


The program is intended to provide medical care for elderly people. elderly people who stay active are usually the healthiest and the happiest

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some hoped to fetch a small fortune, others simply wanted to clear out an elderly parent’s house. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Toy-collecting couple in Towson in search of dolls, trains and treasures of the past," 23 June 2018 The rebooted series had explored drug use, financial problems and caring for an elderly parent. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Roseanne gone; Goodman, Metcalf offer hope," 22 June 2018 Imagine using it to non-intrusively keep tabs on the sleeping, eating, and moving schedules of an elderly parent, as well as signs of distress. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Forget X-Ray Vision. You Can See Through Walls With Radio," 12 June 2018 Tom and Wanda Hardman experienced what a lot of families go through with elderly parents. Laura Berrios, ajc, "New estate recovery law helps families of older Georgians," 19 May 2018 Jimenez is caring for his 97-year-old grandmother, who is bedridden and relies on an oxygen tank, as well as for his elderly parents. CBS News, ""This is unfair": Tensions rise as Puerto Rico residents lack basic services, electricity," 24 Apr. 2018 On Monday as the punishment phase began, the jury heard from relatives, who said Aviles, a single mother, was taking care of her elderly parents as well as her children. Elizabeth Zavala, San Antonio Express-News, "Woman convicted in 2016 fatal hit-and-run in San Antonio gets probation," 23 Apr. 2018 Arte al Rescate focused its initial efforts on two particularly vulnerable groups: children and the elderly. Morgan Smith, chicagotribune.com, "Arte al Rescate provides relief to victims of Hurricane Maria through art," 11 July 2018 Black widow bites can be fatal for young children and the elderly. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Brown recluse, black widow and other dangerous spiders found in the US," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elderly.' 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 elderly


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1865, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elderly

Phrases Related to elderly

the elderly

Statistics for elderly

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elderly

The first known use of elderly was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for elderly



English Language Learners Definition of elderly

: old or rather old : past middle age


el·der·ly | \ˈel-dər-lē \

Kids Definition of elderly

: somewhat old

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on elderly

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!