Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


adj. old·er, old·est
a. Having lived or existed for a relatively long time; far advanced in years or life.
b. Relatively advanced in age: Pamela is our oldest child.
2. Made long ago; in existence for many years: an old book.
a. Of or relating to a long life or to people who have had long lives: a ripe old age.
b. Having or exhibiting the physical characteristics of age: a prematurely old face.
c. Having or exhibiting the wisdom of age; mature: a child who is old for his years.
4. Having lived or existed for a specified length of time: She was 12 years old.
a. Exhibiting the effects of time or long use; worn: an old coat.
b. Known through long acquaintance; long familiar: an old friend.
c. Skilled or able through long experience; practiced: He is an old hand at doing home repairs.
a. Belonging to a remote or former period in history; ancient: old fossils.
b. Belonging to or being of an earlier time: her old classmates.
c. often Old Being the earlier or earliest of two or more related objects, stages, versions, or periods.
7. Geology
a. Having become slower in flow and less vigorous in action. Used of a river.
b. Having become simpler in form and of lower relief. Used of a landform.
8. often ol' (ōl)
a. Used as an intensive: Come back any old time. Don't give me any ol' excuse.
b. Used to express affection or familiarity: good ol' Sam.
1. An individual of a specified age: a five-year-old.
2. Old people considered as a group. Used with the: caring for the old.
3. Former times; yore: in days of old.

[Middle English, from Old English eald; see al- in Indo-European roots.]

old′ness n.
Synonyms: old, ancient1, archaic, antediluvian, antique, antiquated
These adjectives describe what belongs to or dates from an earlier time or period. Old is the most general term: old lace; an old saying.
Ancient pertains to the distant past: "the hills, / Rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun" (William Cullen Bryant).
Archaic implies a very remote, often primitive period: an archaic Greek bronze of the seventh century bc.
Antediluvian applies to what is extremely outdated: "I ... went out to reconnoiter a fresh typewriter ribbon for Professor Mitwisser's antediluvian machine" (Cynthia Ozick).
Antique is applied to what is especially appreciated or valued because of its age: antique furniture; an antique vase.
Antiquated describes what is out of date, no longer fashionable, or discredited: "No idea is so antiquated that it was not once modern. No idea is so modern that it will not someday be antiquated" (Ellen Glasgow).
Usage Note: Old, when applied to people, is a blunt term that usually suggests at least a degree of physical infirmity and age-related restrictions. It should be used advisedly, especially in referring to people advanced in years but leading active lives. · As a comparative form, older might logically seem to indicate greater age than old, but in most cases the opposite is true. A phrase such as the older woman in the wool jacket suggests a somewhat younger person than if old is substituted. Where old expresses an absolute, an arrival at old age, older takes a more relative view of aging as a continuum—older, but not yet old. As such, older is not just a euphemism for the blunter old but rather a more precise term for someone between middle and advanced age. And unlike elderly, older does not particularly suggest frailness or infirmity, making it the natural choice in many situations. See Usage Note at elder1.
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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.oldness - the opposite of youngness
age - how long something has existed; "it was replaced because of its age"
agedness, senescence - the property characteristic of old age
senility - the state of being senile
longevity, seniority - the property of being long-lived
staleness - having lost purity and freshness as a consequence of aging
youngness - the opposite of oldness
2.oldness - the quality of being old; the opposite of newness
age - how long something has existed; "it was replaced because of its age"
obsoleteness, superannuation - the property of being out of date and not current
ancientness, antiquity - extreme oldness
old-fashionedness - the property of being no longer fashionable
time of origin, vintage - the oldness of wines
hoariness - great age (especially grey or white with age)
newness - the quality of being new; the opposite of oldness
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
The sense of the oldness of the Cathedral vanished away under the influence of this truly venerable presence.
All he's done this year is win the Masters, but because he didn't play for a month after -- due to illness, soreness and oldness -- he wasn't a factor at Bethpage, hardly a suitable course for him under the circumstances.
Yet, we also like its oldness. Old buildings symbolise the notion that not everything must end.
Exploring the narrator's descriptions of various historical, old or degenerating elements that physically and experientially surround his younger self as he moves towards maturity, this article presents evidence of Pip being oppressed by oldness, showing the conflicted and contradictory views of the past and of things belonging to the past that he reveals in his narrative.
The biggest problem that Romania is facing is still the old age of the electricity generating capacities, oldness that is close to 30 years, which means that their technical functioning length is close to an end, parts of them being closed often for reparations.
There could be no better location in which to explore the narrator's "sense of antiquity," his "feeling for the age of the earth and the oldness of man's possession of it." It is not surprising that when asked about the qualities he most admired, Naipaul replied: "Honour (where it is personal, rather than the code of a class or group); reliability.
Both chill haze and age-related haze formation are not desired by the consumers, as they show the oldness and staleness of beer and alter the physical stability of beer [36, 37].
Therefore, to maintain the "oldness" of these heritage houses so as to perpetuate an authentic rustic image, the renovations are usually conducted with used materials, some of which are even rotten, broken, or out of shape.
The compound also enables a rhetorical use of parallel structures, such as xinling yuenyi ([phrase omitted]) (the spirit is willing) juxtaposed to routi ruanruo ([phrase omitted]) (the flesh is weak) (Mt 26:41 & Mk 14:38), xinling ([phrase omitted]) (spirit) and chengshi ([phrase omitted]) (truth) (Jn 4:23, 24), xinling de xinyang ([phrase omitted]) (newness of the Spirit) versus yiwen de jiuyang ([phrase omitted]) (the oldness of the letter) (Ro 7:6), shenti yin zui er si ([phrase omitted]) (the body is dead because of sin) versus xinling yin yi er huo ([phrase omitted]) (the spirit is life because of righteousness) (Ro 8:10).
This suspicion is reinforced through the memory of Old England whose oldness suggests a time much before the time of Protestantism, that is, the time of a truly "elder world and mightier race," a heathen England of houses of True Love where household gods protect the fire of the hearth.
"When you're outside of oldness, looking in, it's scary", she says.