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 geriatrics (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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for geriatric

Synonyms: Noun

ancient, elder, golden-ager, old-timer, oldster, senior, senior citizen

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Noun

youngster, youth

Antonyms: Adjective

young, youthful

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Did You Know?

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


most of the clinic's outpatients are geriatrics living on fixed incomes


children who think that anyone over the age of 40 is geriatric went into nursing to work with geriatric patients
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Equally valuable—and a bit quicker—is an article (and checklist) about preventive services in Better Health While Aging, a website published by Leslie Kernisan, a specialist in geriatrics. Glenn Ruffenach, WSJ, "A Medical-Screening Checklist for Older Adults," 3 Jan. 2019 Kozar, who is applying to medical schools, said the program helped steer her toward a career in geriatrics. Pat Eaton-robb, Fox News, "Program combats ageism by having students live with seniors," 17 Aug. 2018 Another pilot project, conducted by Dr. Sara Espinoza, associate professor of medicine (geriatrics), examined the effects of a diabetes drug called Metformin in senior adults. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "UT Health research given $24 million vote of confidence," 31 May 2018 Fewer than 1 percent of RNs and fewer than 3 percent of advanced practice RNs are certified in geriatrics, according to the American Geriatric Society. Alice Adams, Houston Chronicle, "Home health care providers face strong demand for services," 9 Mar. 2018 While there is a clear distinction between MCI and dementia, according to Dr. Bruce Troen, chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the University at Buffalo Medical School there is a 3-fold increase in risk for dementia among those with MCI. Joseph Frankel, Newsweek, "Exercise to Improve Memory and Slow Dementia, New Recommendations Say," 28 Dec. 2017 Great, so people who sit on the job turn into bedridden geriatrics, while those who stand in the office might as well be eating nothing but double cheeseburgers, or going through a pack a day, or maybe both. Jay Willis, GQ, "Bad News: Now Standing at Work Is Killing You, Too," 17 Sep. 2017 Afterward, two ladies channeling Mr. and Mrs. Schumacher (the film’s infamous wallet-lifting geriatrics) led the way, with a feigned, aged saunter, towards the barn. Katie Calautti,, "At the Dirty Dancing Lodge, Fans Can Have the Time of Their Lives," 18 Aug. 2017 The Red Hound of Renown, as he was called in some circles, was a consummate fetch dog, a powerful swimmer and, in his later years, a brazen geriatric with a bottomless bucket list. Greg Trotter,, "A grief considered: Remembering the 'Red Hound of Renown'," 30 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Though the staff helped Ramar manage these issues, he was afflicted with a number of geriatric ailments, including degenerative heart disease and degenerative arthritis. Tony Briscoe,, "Ramar, western lowland gorilla who was Brookfield Zoo's oldest animal, dies at 50," 12 Apr. 2018 The groom’s mother is a geriatric care manager at Aging Network Services in Bethesda. New York Times, "Madeline Long, Joshua Weinstein," 17 June 2018 We were freed from using the geriatric, unreliable oven that came with our apartment, and cookies, pizzas, and baked chicken dishes were now heated all the way through. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Review: The June oven made me want a camera in every cooking device," 22 Dec. 2018 Falls are the leading cause of traumatic injury and death in older people, according to geriatric specialist Dr. Becky Powers. Dr. Melina Jampolis, CNN, "Aging gracefully: Preventing falls," 19 Apr. 2018 Recently, celebrities like Millie Bobby Brown, Zayn Malik, and perhaps most notably, Kaia Gerber have been bucking the geriatric-footwear trend in favor of classic Converse Chuck Taylors. Maria Ward, Vogue, "Kaia Gerber’s Latest It Sneaker May Already Be In Your Closet," 12 Feb. 2018 Other practical ideas include becoming engaged with your church or temple and seeking out a professional geriatric care manager. Washington Post, "When you’re aging alone, who will take care of you if you get sick?," 9 July 2018 The center pulls together experts in geriatric medicine, protective services, civil and criminal prosecution, and law enforcement. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County searching for 10 suspects sought in elderly abuse cases," 2 May 2018 Having a third party as a mediator, such as a geriatric-care manager, is helpful in diffusing tense situations. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "When and how to discuss senior-housing options with aging parents," 13 July 2018

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.

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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

Adjective and Noun

Greek gēras old age + English -iatric

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Learn More about geriatric

Statistics for geriatric

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for geriatric

The first known use of geriatric was in 1909

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More Definitions for geriatric



English Language Learners Definition of geriatric

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an old person



English Language Learners Definition of geriatric (Entry 2 of 2)

medical : of or relating to the process of growing old and the medical care of old people : of or relating to geriatrics


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

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Comments on geriatric

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

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