old

1 of 2

adjective

ˈōld How to pronounce old (audio)
for sense 9 usually
ˈōl How to pronounce old (audio)
older; oldest
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
8
a
: 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
9
a
: 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

old

2 of 2

noun

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
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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The 39-year-old served as an assistant coach for the UChicago women's soccer team from 2015 to 2017. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, 4 Dec. 2022 Iran has been gripped by months of protests, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iran’s Kurdistan region, who died in the hospital three days after she had been detained by the morality police in September. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 4 Dec. 2022 The 23-year-old grew up in Safety Harbor in a family that loved nature. Zachary T. Sampson, Sun Sentinel, 4 Dec. 2022 In her obituary, Goncaleves' family described the 21-year-old as strong, fair, tough, dedicated, beautiful and loving. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 4 Dec. 2022 Talaysia is a 16-year-old with a great sense of humor. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Dec. 2022 The 24-year-old scored the team's winning goal against Iran on Tuesday, but collided with the goalkeeper and ended up in the hospital. Roxana Saberi, CBS News, 3 Dec. 2022 Across his 75 starts in the junior series, the 22-year-old has racked up four sprint race victories and eight podiums overall. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Dec. 2022 The 23-year-old followed up his 30-point performance on Friday night against the Chicago Bulls with 21 points and five assists in 28 minutes. C.j. Holmes, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 Dec. 2022
Noun
During much of the session, Walton reminisced wistfully, as any bar stool companion might, talking about decades-old pie-eating contests and his beloved English setter Ol’ Roy, who gave his name to the popular dog-food brand. Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 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 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near old

Cite this Entry

“Old.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/old. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

old

1 of 2 adjective
1
a
: dating from the distant past
an old custom
b
: having lasted or been such for a long time
an old friend
2
capitalized : belonging to an early period in development
Old Irish
3
: having existed for a specified length of time
a child three years old
4
: having lived a long time
old people
5
: former sense 1
my old teachers
6
: showing the effects of time or use
wore an old coat
7
: long familiar
it's still the same old story

old

2 of 2 noun
: old or earlier time
in days of old

More from Merriam-Webster on old

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