World English Dictionary
elder1 (ˈɛldə)
1.  Compare older born earlier; senior
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
 a.  prior in rank, position, or office
 b.  of a previous time; former
4.  an older person; one's senior
5.  anthropol a senior member of a tribe who has influence or authority
6.  (in certain Protestant Churches) a lay office having teaching, pastoral, or administrative functions
7.  another word for presbyter
[Old English eldra, comparative of ealdold; related to Old Norse ellri, Old High German altiro, Gothic althiza]
usage  The word elder is being increasingly used, as a more respectful way of referring to older people: elder care, elder abuse

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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the office of elder 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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