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

Definition of oldster

: an old or elderly person

Keep scrolling for more

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, "F&S Classics: Suicide Made Easy," 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, "Column: Colts’ version of “Marty Ball” suits Philip Rivers," 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, "Comforting the Comfortable," 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, "Equal opportunity dining: Golden Corral rounds up fine food at affordable prices," 23 Jan. 2020 The old folks had Yoda as their feisty oldster and the kids now have Maz. 28. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "The 50 best 'Star Wars' characters ever, definitively ranked," 17 Dec. 2019 In a field of oldsters, the 37-year-old stands out. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 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, "Pet Wise: Many factors to consider when thinking about adding a new pet," 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, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of oldster

1848, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for oldster

Cite this Entry

“Oldster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oldster. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oldster



English Language Learners Definition of oldster

informal : an old person

More from Merriam-Webster on oldster

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oldster

Nglish: Translation of oldster for Spanish Speakers

Comments on oldster

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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