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 dog
flex the old biceps
any 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Luria said that boring new features or AI capability that is available to anyone with an older iPhone could cause the company’s stock to drop as low as $160 per share. Clare Duffy, CNN, 10 June 2024 When Jaycee Dugard was 11 years old, on June 10, 1991, she was abducted on her way to school in South Lake Tahoe, California. Ashlyn Messier, Fox News, 10 June 2024
Noun
From a 6 year old up to 70 year olds, watching that example, that got into your heart no matter your background. Sam Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 24 May 2024 According to TransUnion, 84 % of 22-24 year olds had at least one general-purpose credit card during the fourth quarter of 2023, compared with just 61% of 22-24 year olds in the same quarter a decade earlier. Rocio Fabbro, Quartz, 13 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for old 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'old.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 14 Jun. 2024.

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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