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

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. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 His surprisingly active Instagram account, which has the tone of an endearing oldster fumbling with a new gadget, features his many opinions, some of them adulatory, some bitchy. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Ralph Rucci: The Rise, and Fall and Rise Again of an American Couturier," 7 Aug. 2019 In graduation ceremonies around the country, oldsters like me are called upon to offer a few words of wisdom. Michael S. Roth, Washington Post, "Our graduates should answer cynicism and insults with inquiry and reflection," 29 May 2018 While Hollywood would likely have made this story all about the two beautiful youths who must fight for their love, Cocteau sees something to care about in the quickly fading, quietly downtrodden oldsters getting in their way. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Storm Within' ('Les Parents Terribles'): Film Review," 23 May 2018 Other divisions featuring oldsters at starting quarterbacks include the AFC West in the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, 37, the NFC East in the Giants’ Eli Manning, 37, and the NFC South in the Saints’ Drew Brees, 39. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals' decision to trade up for Josh Rosen might make the NFC West the best QB division," 26 Apr. 2018 The onus now appears to be on younger acts to fill the void as these oldsters retire to their mansions, yachts, and fifth wives and/or husbands. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Why are your favorite rockers retiring?," 14 Mar. 2018 So that could hit an Academy sweet spot, satisfying both the more conservative oldsters and the younger, leftier types. Richard Lawson, HWD, "What the New York Film Festival Could Mean for the Oscars Race," 27 Sep. 2017 This is not just a case of Facebook’s oldsters discovering the form anew: Reports suggest that Instagram Stories in particular are directly siphoning both users and stars from Snapchat. Will Oremus, Slate Magazine, "Teenage Clicks," 31 July 2017

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

Listen to Our Podcast about oldster

Statistics for oldster

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oldster

The first known use of oldster was in 1848

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for oldster



English Language Learners Definition of oldster

informal : an old person

More from Merriam-Webster on oldster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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