\ ˈōld How to pronounce old (audio) ; for sense 9 usually ˈōl \

Essential Meaning of old

1 : having lived for many years : not young He's an old man now. a little old lady She was helping an old [=(more politely) elderly] woman cross the street.
2 used to talk about or ask about a person's age He looks old for his age. [=he looks older than he really is]She's older than she looks. [=she has a young appearance]He's dating an older woman. [=a woman who is older than he is]I wasn't old enough [=I was too young] to vote in the last election."How old is your daughter?" "She's almost six."Their oldest [=eldest] child is 18 years old.My sister's three years older than me.She lived to the ripe old age of 85.He joked that he was as old as the hills. [=very old]
3 : having a specified age He's 30 years old. a nine-month-old baby

Full Definition of old

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : dating from the remote past : ancient old traditions
b : persisting from an earlier time an old ailment they brought up the same old argument
c : of long standing an old friend
2a : distinguished from an object of the same kind by being of an earlier date many still used the old name
b capitalized : belonging to an early period in the development of a language or literature Old Persian
3 : having existed for a specified period of time a child three years old
4 : of, relating to, or originating in a past era old chronicles record the event
5a : advanced in years or age an old person
b : showing the characteristics of age looked old at 20
6 : experienced an old trooper speaking of the last war
7 : former his old students
8a : showing the effects of time or use : worn, aged old shoes
b : no longer in use : discarded old rags
c : of a grayish or dusty color old mauve
d : tiresome gets old fast
9a : long familiar same old story good old Joe
b used as an intensive a high old time
c used to express an attitude of affection or amusement a big old dogflex the old bicepsany old time



Definition of old (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one of a specified age usually used in combination a 3-year-old
2 : old or earlier time used in the phrase of old the cavalry of old

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Synonyms & Antonyms for old

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for old


old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence. old houses an old sweater of mine ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past. ancient accounts of dragons venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age. the family's venerable patriarch antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time. collected antique Chippendale furniture antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time. antiquated teaching methods archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time. the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence. a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

Examples of old in a Sentence

Adjective He's an old man now. We rented an old black-and-white movie. There's an old saying that good fences make good neighbors. a new approach to an old problem She wore a T-shirt and an old pair of jeans. I wish you would stop wearing that dirty old hat! The hotel was old and dingy. the oldest known civilization in the region The house we live in is 50 years old. We went back to visit our old neighborhood. Noun Young and old alike will enjoy the movie.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The driver of the Toyota, 36-year-old Terry Jones of Bessemer, was injured and taken to a hospital. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 12 Sep. 2021 In the meantime, 29-year-old rookie first baseman Frank Schwindel had 10 homers, 30 RBIs, and a 1.066 OPS in his first 35 games after being claimed off waivers from Oakland on July 18. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 Even as 19-year-old Fernandez, who seemed to run down every ball during the tournament, saved two match points in the second set, Raducanu, 18, persevered for the win, 6-4, 6-3. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 11 Sep. 2021 Fernandez, an unseeded 19-year old whose own longshot journey to the final included a trio of wins over players ranked in the top five, was the sentimental favorite of the New York crowd when the match began. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 11 Sep. 2021 The two men were interviewed by WSB reporter Berndt Petersen about their story of how boxes of old photos had resurrected memories of days long ago in a faraway country. Wayne Ford, ajc, 11 Sep. 2021 The reality star — who is expanding her family with rapper Travis Scott and their 3-year-old daughter Stormi Webster — has been showing off her pregnancy style this time around. Naledi Ushe, PEOPLE.com, 11 Sep. 2021 Larson recently encouraged his old friend, former Councilman Jeff Webster, to run in District 122, a clear indication that the state rep has no intention of seeking re-election. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Sep. 2021 Airside Mobile is just one of a handful of technology companies offering modern solutions to age-old travelers’ conundrums. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, 11 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The novel is told from the viewpoint of Davy Ross, a lonely 13-year old who is forced to move in with his estranged mother after his grandmother dies. USA Today, 20 June 2021 There’s a new old on the market: The early aughts are now vintage. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2021 Andrea Vallone, a 27-year old who works at a major tech company, started banking on Hinge after hearing about the idea through Kawahata. Kaya Yurieff And Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 2 Nov. 2020 Tiz the Law, a majestic-looking colt with a striking white blaze covering most of his face, has established himself as the dominant 3-year old of this year and the heavy favorite in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2020 Joi also testified on behalf of a change in state law that eliminated work permits for 16- and 17-year-olds. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 May 2020 In 2018, just 25.6% of 16-year-olds were licensed to drive, down from 46.2% in 1983, according to a study by Michael Sivak, managing director of Sivak Applied Research. Keith Naughton, Bloomberg.com, 10 May 2020 This showed that of the 14-18-year-olds who could read fluently, nearly 30% could not apply these reading skills to understand how to use an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) based on written instructions on the packet. Azeez Gupta, Quartz India, 3 Feb. 2020 Three 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old were arrested Wednesday in Cleveland, police spokeswoman Sgt. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, 12 Feb. 2020

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for old

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Old English eald; akin to Old High German alt old, Latin alere to nourish, alescere to grow, altus high, deep

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Time Traveler for old

Time Traveler

The first known use of old was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near old



old Adam

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Statistics for old

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Old.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/old. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for old


\ ˈōld How to pronounce old (audio) \
older; oldest

Kids Definition of old

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having lived a long time an old dog
2 : showing the effects of time or use Grandpa wore an old coat.
3 : having existed for a specified length of time My brother is three years old.
4 : dating from the distant past : ancient an old custom
5 : having lasted or been such for a long time She's an old friend of mine.
6 : former My old neighbors came to visit.



Kids Definition of old (Entry 2 of 2)

: a distant or earlier time Life was tough in days of old.

More from Merriam-Webster on old

Nglish: Translation of old for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of old for Arabic Speakers


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