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Greatest in age or seniority. See Usage Note at elder1.

[Middle English, from Old English eldesta; see al- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


being the oldest, esp the oldest surviving child of the same parents
[Old English eldesta, superlative of eald old]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɛl dɪst)

adj. a superl. of old with elder as compar.
oldest; first-born; of greatest age.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English eldesta, (e)ald old]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'elder'

The elder of two people is the one who was born first.

Posy was the elder of the two.

If you have a sister or brother who was born before you, you can refer to them as your elder sister or brother.

He had none of his elder brother's charm.
2. 'eldest'

The eldest of a group of people, especially the brothers and sisters in a family, is the one who was born first.

Gladys was the eldest of four children.
Her eldest son was killed in the First War.
3. 'older' and 'oldest'

Elder and eldest are slightly formal, and many people do not use them at all. Instead of 'elder' and 'eldest' you can use older and oldest.

He's my older brother.
Six of their children were there, including the oldest, Luke.

You can use older and oldest in some ways in which you cannot use 'elder'. For example, you can use older after be, get, or grow, and in front of than.

Try it when you are a little older.
We're all getting older.
As he grew older, his fascination with bees developed into an obsession.
Harriet was ten years older than I was.

You cannot use 'elder' in any of these ways.

You can also use older and oldest to talk about things.

On older houses there may be guarantees for treatment against woodworm.
It is the oldest of London squares.
It claims to be the oldest insurance company in the world.

You cannot use 'elder' or 'eldest' to talk about things.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.eldest - the offspring who came first in the order of birth
offspring, progeny, issue - the immediate descendants of a person; "she was the mother of many offspring"; "he died without issue"
Adj.1.eldest - first in order of birth; "the firstborn child"
first - preceding all others in time or space or degree; "the first house on the right"; "the first day of spring"; "his first political race"; "her first baby"; "the first time"; "the first meetings of the new party"; "the first phase of his training"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


adjective oldest, first, first-born, earliest born David was the eldest of three sons.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
الأبن الأكْبر، البِنْت الكُبْرىالأَكْبَر
가장 나이 많은
en büyüğüyaşça en büyük
lớn nhất


[ˈeldɪst] ADJ [child] → mayor
my eldest sistermi hermana mayor
he's the eldestél es el mayor
the eldest of the fourel mayor de los cuatro
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


my eldest sister → ma sœur aînée
the eldest child → l'aîné(e) des enfants
the eldest → l'aîné(e)
He's the eldest → C'est l'aîné.
their eldest (= eldest child) → leur aîné(e)e-learning [ˈiːlɜːrnɪŋ] napprentissage m en ligne
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adj attr superl of oldälteste(r, s)
n the eldestder/die/das Älteste; (pl) → die Ältesten pl; the eldest of four childrendas älteste von vier Kindern; my eldest (inf: = son) → mein Ältester; (= daughter)meine Älteste
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈɛldɪst] adjmaggiore
my eldest brother → il maggiore dei miei fratelli
the eldest (child) → il/la maggiore (dei bambini)
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈeldə) adjective
(often of members of a family) older; senior. He has three elder sisters; He is the elder of the two.
1. a person who is older. Take the advice of your elders.
2. an office-bearer in Presbyterian churches.
ˈelderly adjective
(rather) old. an elderly lady.
ˈeldest adjective
oldest. She is the eldest of the three children.
the elderly
people who are (rather) old. It is important for the elderly to take some exercise.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


الأَكْبَر nejstarší ældst ältester πρεσβύτερος de más edad, el de más edad vanhin aîné najstariji il maggiore 最年長の 가장 나이 많은 oudste eldst najstarszy o mais velho самый старший äldst แก่ที่สุด yaşça en büyük lớn nhất 最年长的
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


a. sup. el mayor, la mayor.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
Having murdered his brother-in-law, Orrin Brower of Kentucky was a fugitive from justice.
He could not have said if he were getting farther away from the town or going back to it--a most important matter to Orrin Brower.
A rising sea level is an inevitability, write Orrin Pilkey and Keith Pilkey in Sea Level Rise, whose research concentrates on the American shoreline.
And as he says that, [Republican Utah Sen.] Orrin Hatch walks up, and Mitch looks at Orrin and says, 'Orrin, is Utah really going to legalize marijuana?' And Orrin Hatch folds his hands, looks down at his feet, and says, 'First tea, then coffee, and now this.'"
Stand out performances came from Orrin Edmonds and Louis Perrett in the half and forward lines and a stellar performance from man of the match James Holt in goal.
President Donald Trump looks on as musician Kid Rock speaks during a signing ceremony for the 'Orrin G.
The House of Representatives late Tuesday passed the Orrin G.
Scotland's Ross Kellette and Max Orrin of England took a joint one shot lead as Kenyans struggled on the opening day of the Barclays Kenya Open at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.
By LARRY NGALAEngland's Max Orrin picked up a total of seven birdies with only a bogey, to join pacemaker Ross Kellett of Scotland in six under par 65 at the close of day one in this year's Barclays Kenya Open at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course on Thursday.Orrin started his birdie hunt right from the first hole, added one more at the par five-fourth, before picking his third birdie on the front nine at the seventh.
Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) recent broadside against the credit union tax exemption left a lot of people saying, "Huh?"