old·​ster | \ ˈōl(d)-stər How to pronounce oldster (audio) \

Definition of oldster

: an old or elderly person

Did you know?

Youngster has been used since the 16th century as a word for a young person with a lot of spunk. It has also long been used by maritime people as a word for a midshipman who has served less than four years. This use is connected with the Dutch word younker, which, like "youngster," refers to a young person as well as a young seaman. "Oldster" came about as a word used to differentiate the inexperienced midshipmen, or youngsters, from the experienced ones. To be exact, an oldster is a midshipman of four years' standing. Charles Dickens gets credit for the earliest known use of "oldster" in the general sense of "an old person." In his 1848 novel Dombey & Son he wrote, "Her eyes would play the Devil with the youngsters before long - 'and the oldsters too, Sir, if you come to that,' added the Major."

Examples of oldster in a Sentence

a family film that will appeal to youngsters and oldsters alike
Recent Examples on the Web Stalking the herd is easier than stalking the old and wary lone bull, which has been expelled from the flock by the young bloods, or stalking an old bull with an askaria young bull that serves as stooge and bodyguard to the oldster. Robert Ruark, Field & Stream, 1 Dec. 2020 While Rivers was plotting and plodding his way to victory Sunday, another oldster threw five touchdown passes with his new team. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Oct. 2020 The radical difference between the median and the mean means that there are some very, very rich oldsters out there, but Bill Gates and Bruce Springsteen are eligible for Social Security and Medicare simply by virtue of their age. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 10 Feb. 2020 Hipsters in groups, oldsters in couples, crowds of post-church patrons on Sundays and, almost always, families with very cheerful children. Beth Segal, cleveland, 23 Jan. 2020 The old folks had Yoda as their feisty oldster and the kids now have Maz. 28. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 17 Dec. 2019 In a field of oldsters, the 37-year-old stands out. Nr Editors, National Review, 5 Dec. 2019 Elderly dogs and cats may be too frail to interact safely with a rambunctious puppy or kitten despite the belief some people have that a younger animal may spark some life into the oldster. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 16 Nov. 2019 Four tales include a bigot, oldsters who find youth in playing kick the can, a misunderstood boy, and a terrified man on a plane. Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of oldster

1848, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About oldster

Time Traveler for oldster

Time Traveler

The first known use of oldster was in 1848

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About oldster

Dictionary Entries Near oldster

old stager


Old Stone Age

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for oldster

Cite this Entry

“Oldster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oldster. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on oldster

Nglish: Translation of oldster for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!