WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
eld•er1 /ˈɛldɚ/USA pronunciation adj. a compar. ofoldwitheldestas superl. [before a noun;
used only of people]
  1. of greater age;
    older:my elder sister.

n. [countable]
  • 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 n. [countable]

      Plant Biologya shrub or tree having divided leaves and clusters of small berries.

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    elder /ˈɛldə/ adj
    1. born earlier; senior
      Compare older
    2. (in piquet and similar card games) denoting or relating to the nondealer (the elder hand), who has certain advantages in the play
    3. archaic prior in rank, position, or office
    4. of a previous time; former
    1. an older person; one's senior
    2. a senior member of a tribe who has influence or authority
    3. (in certain Protestant Churches) a lay office having teaching, pastoral, or administrative functions
    4. another word for presbyter
    Etymology: Old English eldra, comparative of eald old; related to Old Norse ellri, Old High German altiro, Gothic althiza

    ˈelderˌship n USAGE
    The word elder is being increasingly used, as a more respectful way of referring to older people: elder care, elder abuse

    elder /ˈɛldə/ n
    1. 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
    Etymology: Old English ellern; related to Old Norse elrir, Old High German erlīn, Old Slavonic jelǐcha, Latin alnus

    Elder /ˈɛldə/ n
    1. 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:

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