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
Kishida noted the longevity of the D.C. cherry trees, some of which are 112 years old. Praveena Somasundaram, Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2024 In Michael Showalter and Jennifer Westfeldt’s adaptation of the novel, which Showalter also directs, Hayes is four years older, and Solène’s daughter has aged out of being a superfan of his band. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 Rose flashes back to being eight years old and playing with his best friends, whose mother died of cancer. Sarah Grant, SPIN, 10 Apr. 2024 Yarden Bibas was separated from his wife Shiri and their children Kfir and Ariel, who were just 9 months and 4 years old respectively on October 7. Alex Marquardt, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 Last week, ahead of the release of her album The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift shared five new playlists that sort her old songs into stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Angela Haupt, TIME, 10 Apr. 2024 Jenner’s older sister, Kim Kardashian, also owns a piece from the famed runway: a necklace that appeared in the Barbie movie. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 10 Apr. 2024 Miguel Breed: Hound mix, brindle coat Age: 5 months old This 24 pound bundle of joy is a hound with a huge zest for life. Teryn Jones, Kansas City Star, 10 Apr. 2024 Legal challenges that advanced from Louisville Metro Council to the Kentucky Supreme Court over the demolition of the old Holy Name gym and school at Fourth Street and Haywood Avenue delayed those plans, the Courier Journal previously reported. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, 10 Apr. 2024
Noun
Last summer, the National Association of Education Progress (commonly known as America’s Report Card) released findings that showed 13 year olds are scoring their lowest levels since 1990 in math and since 2004 in reading. Peter Georgescu, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 There will also be a special drop for children with disabilities at 11:30 a.m Fraser's Steffens Park will drop marshmallows on Saturday, with children split up by ages: 1-5 year olds at noon and ages 6-10 at 12:30 p.m. Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2024 For context, the U.S. personal median income (which includes 15 year olds and those without a degree at all) is $40,480. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 25 Mar. 2024 Among 30 to 39 year olds, Porter has 25% while Garvey and Schiff each have 11%. David Lightman, Sacramento Bee, 2 Mar. 2024 The Biden Administration turns their back on this crisis and, as a result, fentanyl has become the number one killer of 18-45 year olds in this country. Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 15 Feb. 2024 New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm, found that 69% of 18-24 year olds prefer cannabis to alcohol. Sasha Rogelberg, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2024 While that’s not an excuse for many of the team’s young guys, the truth is that this team was built around — and in the image of — the olds. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 10 Jan. 2024 Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in the U.K. the number of 18-year olds applying to go to university has been rising sharply in the last two years, following 5 years of stagnation. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 1 Nov. 2023

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 20 Apr. 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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