ge·​ri·​at·​ric | \ ˌjer-ē-ˈa-trik How to pronounce geriatric (audio) , ˌjir- \

Definition of geriatric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 geriatrics\ ˌjer-​ē-​ˈa-​triks How to pronounce geriatric (audio) , ˌjir-​ \ plural in form but singular in construction : a branch of medicine that deals with the problems and diseases of old age and the medical care and treatment of aging people An old family member is often the inspiration for medical students who choose geriatrics.— Katie Hafner — compare gerontology
2 : an aged person To put it mildly, the geriatrics of the entertainment industry didn't see this coming.— John Perry Barlow



Definition of geriatric (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of or relating to geriatrics or the process of aging
b : of, relating to, or appropriate for elderly people the geriatric set
2a : old, elderly a geriatric dachshund
b : old and outmoded geriatric airplanes

Synonyms & Antonyms for geriatric

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Since most medical care is devoted to those over 65, geriatrics, the medical treatment of the elderly, is a highly important specialty. The specific problems of the elderly include physical inactivity and instability, which result from weakness and loss of energy. Weakness of the eyes and ears plays a role, and weakening of the immune system often leads to more disease. All these conditions can be made worse by mental problems, such as declining intellectual activity, declining memory, and depression, which may prevent the patient from taking action to improve his or her condition. But the effects of aging can be greatly relieved by proper care. And the greatest improvement often results when the patient is persuaded to become more physically, mentally, and socially active.

Examples of geriatric in a Sentence

Noun most of the clinic's outpatients are geriatrics living on fixed incomes Adjective children who think that anyone over the age of 40 is geriatric went into nursing to work with geriatric patients
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The geriatric among us were already working (or trying to) when the Great Recession hit. Sara Rathner Nerdwallet, Star Tribune, 10 July 2021 The first real-world BCI boom is expected in VR gaming headsets, with future applications to support the escalating geriatric and Alzheimer’s populations look promising. Frank Fitzpatrick, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 It's just become a sport for the geriatric and anyone with a few million followers on social media who can throw a punch. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, 30 Mar. 2021 Some states in America, including Alabama, California and Georgia, have geriatric-release laws. The Economist, 7 Sep. 2020 Like many nursing programs around the country seeking to address the shortage of nursing personnel able to care for the growing senior population, the nursing school at St. Thomas has added a clinical experience in geriatrics into their program. Alice Adams, Houston Chronicle, 9 Mar. 2018 Now Gove’s remark became the source of the ashen taste in the mouths of Remoaner metropolitan elites bewailing how provincial troglodytes, geriatrics, and Little Englanders had dashed their rationalist, internationalist dreams. Kyle Smith, National Review, 8 Apr. 2020 There are sweatshirt-wearing college students, cantankerous geriatrics, bedraggled parents of toddlers, hipsters with multiple facial piercings and purple-haired 20-somethings of indeterminate gender. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 7 Feb. 2020 Yet geriatrics is badly scanted in standard medical training. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Anand Kumar is a geriatric psychiatrist, professor and head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago, and past president of American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Anand Kumar, STAT, 9 May 2022 Kiggans, a geriatric nurse practitioner and former Navy helicopter pilot, ramped up her fundraising, pulling in more than $400,000 this past quarter and surpassing $1 million in total. Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2022 The essence of geriatric medicine is the anticipation of cascading health problems like the ones that Harriet was facing. Rachael Bedard, The New Yorker, 6 Mar. 2022 Puppies and geriatric dogs struggle more to adapt, Tynes said. Julianna Morano, Dallas News, 29 June 2021 Weight gain in geriatric dogs increases the risk of health problems. Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, 8 Jan. 2021 American military power in the last two decades has been burned up in counterterrorism operations, and the current force may be too small and geriatric to crush a peer military, let alone aggression on two fronts. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 7 Mar. 2022 Zoo Atlanta noted that gorillas are considered geriatric after the age of 40. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 26 Jan. 2022 Bristol then announced a partial alliance with Yale, and has since partnered with other organizations for its wound center and its new geriatric behavioral health unit. Don Stacom,, 16 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of geriatric


1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for geriatric


geriatrics from Greek gḗras "old age" + -iatrics; gḗras going back to a lengthened grade ablaut derivative of an Indo-European verbal base *ǵerh2- "become old, ripen," whence also, with varying ablaut and suffixation, Greek géras "gift of honor," geraiós "old," Old Church Slavic sŭzĭrějǫ,zĭrěti "to ripen, mature," Armenian cer "old man, old," Sanskrit járati "(s/he) makes old, ages, decays," jaraṇáḥ "old, decayed," jarā́ "old age," Avestan zarəta- "old," azarəšant- "unaging," Persian zar "old man," zāl "(of persons) old"

Note: The word geriatrics was introduced by the Austrian-born U.S. physician Ignatz Leo Nascher (1863-1944) in the article "Geriatrics," New York Journal of Medicine, vol. 90, no. 8 (August 21, 1909), p. 358: "Geriatrics, from geras, old age, and iatrikos, relating to the physician, is a term I would suggest as an addition to our vocabulary, to cover the same field in old age that is covered by the term pædiatrics in childhood." — The peculiar lengthened grade in Greek gḗras has been explained as deriving from the aorist egḗrā "(s/he) became old." The diverse forms and meanings in Indo-Iranian perhaps reflect a merger of two roots, *ǵerh2- "become old" and *ǵerH- "wear down, grind." See also geronto-, churl, corn entry 1.


back-formation from geriatrics

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The first known use of geriatric was in 1909

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Cite this Entry

“Geriatric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for geriatric


ge·​ri·​at·​ric | \ ˌjer-ē-ˈa-trik How to pronounce geriatric (audio) , ˌjir- How to pronounce geriatric (audio) \

Medical Definition of geriatric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 geriatrics plural in form but singular in construction : a branch of medicine that deals with the problems and diseases of old age and aging people — compare gerontology
2 : an aged person



Medical Definition of geriatric (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to geriatrics or its practice the geriatric department in a hospital a geriatric ward
2 : of, relating to, affecting, or being aged individuals the geriatric population geriatric depression treated geriatric animals

More from Merriam-Webster on geriatric

Nglish: Translation of geriatric for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of geriatric for Arabic Speakers


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