WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2014
eld•er1 /ˈɛldɚ/USA pronunciation
adj. a compar. ofoldwitheldestas superl. [before a noun;
used only of people]
of greater age;
older:my elder sister.
an older person: a boy who respects his elders.
Sociologyan older, influential member of a community.
Religion(in certain Protestant churches) a person who is not a member of the clergy and is a governing officer, often assisting in services.
elder is both an adjective and a noun, and elderly is both an adjective and a noun:Listen to your elders. She is my elder sister. Elderly gentlemen met us at the door. These seats are all reserved for the elderly.
el•der2 /ˈɛldɚ/USA pronunciation
Plant Biologya shrub or tree having divided leaves and clusters of small berries.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
elder /ˈɛldə/ adj
- born earlier; senior
- (in piquet and similar card games) denoting or relating to the nondealer (the elder hand), who has certain advantages in the play
- archaic prior in rank, position, or office
- of a previous time; former
Etymology: Old English eldra, comparative of eald old; related to Old Norse ellri, Old High German altiro, Gothic althizaˈelderˌship n USAGE
- an older person; one's senior
- a senior member of a tribe who has influence or authority
- (in certain Protestant Churches) a lay office having teaching, pastoral, or administrative functions
- another word for presbyter
The word elder is being increasingly used, as a more respectful way of referring to older people: elder care, elder abuse
elder /ˈɛldə/ n
Etymology: Old English ellern; related to Old Norse elrir, Old High German erlīn, Old Slavonic jelǐcha, Latin alnus
- Also called: elderberry any of various caprifoliaceous shrubs or small trees of the genus Sambucus, having clusters of small white flowers and red, purple, or black berry-like fruits
Elder /ˈɛldə/ n
- Mark Philip. born 1947, British conductor; musical director of the English National Opera (1979–93) and of the Hallé Orchestra from 2000
'elder' also found in these entries: