synonyms
  • definitions

oldest

[ ohl-dist ]SEE DEFINITION OF oldest

Synonyms for oldest

  • earliest
  • first
  • original
  • primeval
MOST RELEVANT
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR OLDEST

"It was good Medicine, too," spoke up the oldest of the dancing women.

The last descendant of one of the oldest families of France!

When, however, suitable time had elapsed, the oldest of the party spoke.

He was the son of Pan, and the oldest of the satyrs, who were supposed to be half goat.

Out in the path, under the oldest tree of all, she dropped his hand and faced him.

The oldest daughter, Mary Ella, died in 1854, aged fourteen.

He has four children, the oldest and youngest being daughters.

Thus there remains only Africa, the oldest yet the last-explored part of the world.

For Mrs. O'Callaghan was as young as her youngest child, and as old as her oldest.

Major Harper, the oldest, most refined and most soldierly of them all, was also the handsomest.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English ald (Anglian), eald (West Saxon) "aged, antique, primeval; elder, experienced," from West Germanic *althas "grown up, adult" (cf. Old Frisian ald, Gothic alþeis, Dutch oud, German alt), originally a past participle stem of a verb meaning "grow, nourish" (cf. Gothic alan "to grow up," Old Norse ala "to nourish"), from PIE root *al- "to grow, nourish" (cf. Greek aldaino "make grow, strengthen," althein, althainein "to get well;" Latin alere "to feed, nourish, bring up, increase," altus "high," literally "grown tall," almus "nurturing, nourishing," alumnus "fosterling, step-child;" Old Irish alim "I nourish").

The usual PIE root is *sen- (see senior (adj.)). A few Indo-European 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. Latin senex was used of aged living things, mostly persons, while vetus (literally "having many years") was used of inanimate things. Greek geraios was used mostly of humans; Greek palaios was used mostly of things, of persons only in a derogatory sense. Greek also had arkhaios, literally "belonging to the beginning," which parallels French ancien, used mostly with reference to things "of former times."

Old English also had fyrn "ancient," related to Old English feor "far, distant" (see far, and cf. Gothic fairneis, Old Norse forn "old, of old, of former times," Old High German firni "old, experienced"). The original Old English vowel is preserved in Scots auld, also in alderman. The original comparative and superlative (elder, eldest) are retained in particular uses.

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 late 14c. Old Glory for "the American flag" is first attested 1862. Old maid "woman who remains single well beyond the usual marrying age" is from 1520s; the card game is attested by that name from 1844. Old man "man who has lived long" is from c.1200; sense of "husband, father, boss" is from 1854, earlier (1830) it was military slang for "commanding officer;" old lady "wife, mother" is attested from c.1775. Old English is attested from 1701, originally as a type of font. Old boy originally was a former pupil of one of the English public schools. Old Testament attested from mid-14c.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR OLDEST

elder

nounolder person
  • ancestor
  • ancient
  • forebearer
  • golden ager
  • matriarch
  • old fogey
  • oldest
  • oldster
  • patriarch
  • senior
  • senior citizen
  • superior
  • veteran
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.