el·​der·​ly | \ ˈel-dər-lē How to pronounce elderly (audio) \

Definition of elderly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : rather old especially : being past middle age
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

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Other Words from elderly


elderliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for elderly

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective

young, youthful

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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

Communities likely to get shut off worry PG&E will put people in danger, especially the sick and elderly,... Russell Gold And Katherine Blunt, WSJ, "PG&E’s Radical Plan to Prevent Wildfires: Shut Down the Power Grid," 27 Apr. 2019 People tend to think of loneliness as an issue that impacts the elderly or people who are socially isolated, but loneliness is more complicated than that. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "Loneliness Reflects Quality of Relationships, Not Quantity," 26 Apr. 2019 That cool, calming quality — coupled with an ability to quickly learn new things — means that llamas make excellent therapy animals for both the elderly and children with special needs. Marygrace Taylor, Good Housekeeping, "6 Things You Should to Know Before Getting a Pet Llama or Alpaca," 23 July 2018 The bulk of the action is a longtime favorite fable an elderly man (Peter Falk) is reading to his grandson (Fred Savage), who starts out as a reluctant listener but gradually gets into the story. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018 At this point in the show's timeline, Jack was not an elderly man and should have recovered. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "10 Significant Moments You Missed From 'This Is Us' Last Night," 17 Oct. 2018 Oddly, though, evidence like that didn't get through to the panel of elderly Republican men on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Melania Trump Attempts to "Both Sides" MeToo," 10 Oct. 2018 The group of thieves, who were all elderly men, stole £14 million ($18.2 million) in 2015. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Prince Philip Made a Surprise Visit to a Film Set—But Didn’t Want to Meet Any of the Stars," 7 Sep. 2018 Prosecutors said Jones attacked the elderly man with a brick on the evening of July 4. CBS News, "Woman charged with attempted murder in beating of man, 92, with brick," 13 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.

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First Known Use of elderly


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1865, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for elderly

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elderly

The first known use of elderly was in 1611

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More Definitions for elderly



English Language Learners Definition of elderly

: old or rather old : past middle age


el·​der·​ly | \ ˈel-dər-lē How to pronounce elderly (audio) \

Kids Definition of elderly

: somewhat old

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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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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