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

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of elderly in a Sentence

Adjective 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 But the assault comes amid a string of attacks on Asian Americans, many of them against people who are elderly or otherwise vulnerable. Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, "Asian American man beaten with own cane at Rosemead bus stop in ‘violent, random crime’," 22 Feb. 2021 Many fire victims are elderly and an unknown number of them are in ailing health. J.d. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, "Some PG&E fire victims in a race against time to get paid," 1 Feb. 2021 Many prisoners too are elderly and have medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID disease. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Scientific American, "It's Time to Consider Vaccine Mandates in High-Risk Settings," 28 Jan. 2021 With the end of World War II now more than seven decades ago, the world's approximately 240,000 Holocaust survivors are all elderly. Star Tribune, "Shoah survivors to get vaccine on Auschwitz liberation day," 27 Jan. 2021 The elderly father was taken to the Hoover Police Department for questioning and is cooperating with the investigation. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "61-year-old man shot by elderly father during domestic dispute at Hoover home," 9 Jan. 2021 When the pandemic hit, Desiree Leal was working three jobs in Montgomery, Tex.: taking care of her elderly father, driving a school bus and delivering pizzas. Washington Post, "Here are some good things about this year," 30 Dec. 2020 At home, Skaggs and his wife Sharon White had been busy caring for her elderly father Buck White for the past three years. Tricia Despres, PEOPLE.com, "Ricky Skaggs Feeling '150%' After Quadruple Bypass: 'It Was a Blessing I Didn't Have a Heart Attack''," 30 Dec. 2020 Lyuda, who was a nurse on the front line in the Second World War, and who still reveres the memory of Stalin, lives with her elderly father (Sergei Erlish) and her eighteen-year-old daughter, Svetka (Yulia Burova). Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Dear Comrades!” Is Andrei Konchalovsky’s Masterpiece," 25 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for elderly

Time Traveler

The first known use of elderly was in 1611

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Statistics for elderly

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Elderly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elderly. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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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

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