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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.]


being the oldest, esp the oldest surviving child of the same parents
[Old English eldesta, superlative of eald old]


(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]


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.

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"


adjective oldest, first, first-born, earliest born David was the eldest of three sons.
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


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


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


[ˈɛldɪst] adjmaggiore
my eldest brother → il maggiore dei miei fratelli
the eldest (child) → il/la maggiore (dei bambini)


(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.


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


a. sup. el mayor, la mayor.
References in classic literature ?
Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain.
Uncas, the panther of his tribe, the eldest son of the Lenape, the wisest Sagamore of the Mohicans
Of these my eldest son was one that fell in the action.
The voice which had called her attention was that of the reverend and famous John Wilson, the eldest clergyman of Boston, a great scholar, like most of his contemporaries in the profession, and withal a man of kind and genial spirit.
Bird went into the kitchen, followed by the two eldest boys, the smaller fry having, by this time, been safely disposed of in bed.
And then they rode to the damsels, and either saluted other, and the eldest had a garland of gold about her head, and she was threescore winter of age or more --"
stating that "Lady Kennedy had given birth to twins, the eldest being a son.
My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of free- dom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time.
Some people are surprized, I believe, that the eldest was not, but Isabella would have him called Henry, which I thought very pretty of her.
Dashwood feel this ungracious behaviour, and so earnestly did she despise her daughter-in-law for it, that, on the arrival of the latter, she would have quitted the house for ever, had not the entreaty of her eldest girl induced her first to reflect on the propriety of going, and her own tender love for all her three children determined her afterwards to stay, and for their sakes avoid a breach with their brother.
Old Lord Ingram's estates were chiefly entailed, and the eldest son came in for everything almost.
Her eldest child, now descending the stairs by her side, was the mirror in which she could look back and see again the reflection of her own youth.