adjective, older, oldest or elder, eldest.
far advanced in the years of one's or its life: an old man; an old horse; an old tree.
of or pertaining to the latter part of the life or term of existence of a person or thing: old age.
as if or appearing to be far advanced in years: Worry had made him old.
having lived or existed for a specified time: a man 30 years old; a century-old organization.
having lived or existed as specified with relation to younger or newer persons or things: Jim is our oldest boy.
having been aged for a specified time: This whiskey is eight years old.
having been aged for a comparatively long time: old brandy.
long known or in use: the same old excuse.
overfamiliar to the point of tedium: Some jokes get old fast.
belonging to the past: the good old days.
having been in existence since the distant past: a fine old family.
no longer in general use: This typewriter is an old model.
acquired, made, or in use by one prior to the acquisition, making, or use of something more recent: When the new house was built, we sold the old one.
of, pertaining to, or originating at an earlier period or date: old maps.
prehistoric; ancient: There may have been an old land bridge between Asia and Alaska.
(initial capital letter) (of a language) in its oldest known period, as attested by the earliest written records: Old Czech.
experienced: He's an old hand at welding.
of long standing; having been such for a comparatively long time: an old and trusted employee.
(of colors) dull, faded, or subdued: old rose.
deteriorated through age or long use; worn, decayed, or dilapidated: old clothes.
Physical Geography. (of landforms) far advanced in reduction by erosion or the like.
sedate, sensible, mature, or wise: That child seems old beyond his years.
(used to indicate affection, familiarity, disparagement, or a personalization): good old Bob; that dirty old jalopy.
Informal. (used as an intensive) great; uncommon: a high old time.
former; having been so formerly: a dinner for his old students.
(used with a plural verb) old persons collectively (usually preceded by the ): appropriations to care for the old.
a person or animal of a specified age or age group (used in combination): a class for six-year-olds; a horse race for three-year-olds.
old or former time, often time long past: days of old.

before 900; Middle English; Old English eald, ald; cognate with Dutch old, German alt, Gothic altheis; akin to Old Norse ala to nourish

oldness, noun

1. Old, aged, elderly all mean well along in years. An old person has lived long, nearly to the end of the usual period of life. An aged person is very far advanced in years, and is usually afflicted with the infirmities of age. An elderly person is somewhat old, but usually has the mellowness, satisfactions, and joys of age ahead. 9. olden, early.

1. young.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
old (əʊld)
adj (often preceded by good)
1.  having lived or existed for a relatively long time: an old man; an old tradition; old wine; an old house; an old country
2.  a.  of or relating to advanced years or a long life: old age
 b.  (as collective noun; preceded by the): the old
 c.  old and young people of all ages
3.  decrepit or senile
4.  worn with age or use: old clothes; an old car
5.  a.  (postpositive) having lived or existed for a specified period: a child who is six years old
 b.  (in combination): a six-year-old child
 c.  (as noun in combination): a six-year-old
6.  (capital when part of a name or title) earlier or earliest of two or more things with the same name: the old edition; the Old Testament; old Norwich
7.  (capital when part of a name) designating the form of a language in which the earliest known records are written: Old English
8.  (prenominal) familiar through long acquaintance or repetition: an old friend; an old excuse
9.  practised; hardened: old in cunning
10.  cherished; dear: used as a term of affection or familiarity: good old George
11.  informal ( with any of several nouns ) used as a familiar form of address to a person: old thing; old bean; old stick; old fellow
12.  skilled through long experience (esp in the phrase an old hand)
13.  out-of-date; unfashionable
14.  remote or distant in origin or time of origin: an old culture
15.  (prenominal) former; previous: my old house was small
16.  a.  (prenominal) established for a relatively long time: an old member
 b.  (in combination): old-established
17.  sensible, wise, or mature: old beyond one's years
18.  youthful See also mature (of a river, valley, or land surface) in the final stage of the cycle of erosion, characterized by flat extensive flood plains and minimum relief
19.  (intensifier) (esp in phrases such as a good old time, any old thing, any old how, etc)
20.  (of crops) harvested late
21.  good old days an earlier period of time regarded as better than the present
22.  informal little old indicating affection, esp humorous affection: my little old wife
23.  informal the old one, the old gentleman a jocular name for Satan
24.  an earlier or past time (esp in the phrase of old): in days of old
[Old English eald; related to Old Saxon ald, Old High German, German alt, Latin altus high]
usage  Many people nowadays prefer to talk about older people rather than old people, and the phrase the old is best avoided altogether

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. ald (Anglian), eald (W.Saxon), from W.Gmc. *althas "grown up, adult" (cf. O.Fris. ald, Goth. alþeis, Du. oud, Ger. alt), originally a pp. stem of a verb meaning "grow, nourish" (cf. Goth. alan "to grow up," O.N. ala "to nourish"), from PIE base *al- "to grow, nourish" (cf. Gk. aldaino "make
grow, strengthen," althein, althainein "to get well;" L. alere "to feed, nourish, bring up, increase," altus "high," lit. grown tall, almus "nurturing, nourishing," alumnus "fosterling, step-child;" O.Ir. alim "I nourish"). The usual PIE root is *sen- (cf. senior). A few IE languages distinguish words for "old" (vs. young) from words for "old" (vs. new), and some have separate words for aged persons as opposed to old things. L. senex was used of aged living things, mostly persons, while vetus (lit. "having many years") was used of inanimate things. Gk. geraios was used mostly of humans; Gk. palaios was used mostly of things, of persons only in a derogatory sense. Gk. also had arkhaios, lit. "belonging to the beginning," which parallels Fr. ancien, used mostly with ref. to things "of former times." O.E. also had fyrn "ancient," related to O.E. feor "far, distant" (see far, and cf. Goth. fairneis, O.N. forn "old, of old, of former times," O.H.G. firni "old, experienced"). The original O.E. vowel is preserved in Scots auld. The original comp. and superl. retained in particular uses elder, eldest, also alderman). Pseudo-archaic mock-antique variant olde is attested from 1927. Oldie "an old tune or film" is from 1940. First record of old-timer is from 1860. Expression old as the hills first recorded 1819. The good old days dates from 1828. Of old "of old times" is from c.1386. Old Glory for "the American flag" is first attested 1862. Old maid "woman who remains single well beyond the usual marrying age" is from 1530; the card game is attested by that name from 1844. Old man "husband, father, boss" is from 1854, earlier (1830) military slang for "commanding officer;" old lady "wife, mother" is attested from c.1775. Old English is attested from 1849 as a type of black-letter font.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with old, also see any old; chip off the old block; comfortable as an old shoe; dirty joke (old man); get the air (old heave-ho); no fool like an old fool; of old; ripe old age; same old story; settle a score (old scores); stamping ground, old; teach an old dog new tricks; up to one's old tricks.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The old ways of limiting the supply of surplus labor are disappearing.
He begins chatting with the regulars and they all end up having a high old time.
The planet orbits inside a disk of material around the star that's no more than
  two million years old.
What to do if your mattress company does not take your old mattress with them
  when you buy a new one.
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