What does Elder mean?

Definitions for Elder
ˈɛl dərel·der

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Elder.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. elder, seniornoun

    a person who is older than you are

  2. elder, elderberry bushnoun

    any of numerous shrubs or small trees of temperate and subtropical northern hemisphere having white flowers and berrylike fruit

  3. elderadjective

    any of various church officers

  4. elder, older, sr.adjective

    used of the older of two persons of the same name especially used to distinguish a father from his son

    "Bill Adams, Sr."

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Elderadjective

    The comparative of eld, Surpassing another in years; survivor; having the privileges of primogeniture.

    Etymology: eald, ealdor, Saxon.

    They bring the comparison of younger daughters conforming themselves in attire to the example of their elder sisters. Richard Hooker, b. iv. s. 13.

    Let still the woman take
    An elder than herself; so wears she to him,
    So sways she level in her husband’s heart. William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

    How I firmly am resolv’d, you know;
    That is, not to bestow my youngest daughter,
    Before I have a husband for the elder. William Shakespeare, Tam. of the Shrew.

    The elder of his children comes to acquire a degree of authority among the younger, by the same means the father did among them. William Temple.

    Fame’s high temple stands;
    Stupendous pile! not rear’d by mortal hands!
    Whate’er proud Rome, or artful Greece beheld,
    Or elder Babylon, its frame excell’d. Alexander Pope, Temp. of Fame.

  2. Eldernoun

    The name of a tree.

    Etymology: ellasa, Saxon.

    The branches are full of pith, having but little wood: the flowers are monopetalous, divided into several segments, and expand in form of a rose: these are, for the most part, collected into an umbel, and are succeeded by soft succulent berries, having three seeds in each. It may be easily propagated from cuttings or seeds; but the former, being the most expeditious method, is generally practised. The season for planting their cuttings is any time from September to March, thrusting them six or eight inches into the ground. Dwarf elder is near London propagated for medicinal use. Philip Miller.

    Look for thy reward
    Amongst the nettles at the elder tree,
    Which overshades the mouth of that same pit. William Shakespeare, Tit. And.

    Then seek the bank where flowering elders crowd. James Thomson.


  1. elder

    An elder is a person of greater age or seniority, often used to signify respect towards them due to their life experience or wisdom. It can also refer to a position of authority or leadership, particularly in religious or community contexts.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Elderadjective

    older; more aged, or existing longer

  2. Elderadjective

    born before another; prior in years; senior; earlier; older; as, his elder brother died in infancy; -- opposed to younger, and now commonly applied to a son, daughter, child, brother, etc

  3. Elderadjective

    one who is older; a superior in age; a senior

  4. Elderadjective

    an aged person; one who lived at an earlier period; a predecessor

  5. Elderadjective

    a person who, on account of his age, occupies the office of ruler or judge; hence, a person occupying any office appropriate to such as have the experience and dignity which age confers; as, the elders of Israel; the elders of the synagogue; the elders in the apostolic church

  6. Elderadjective

    a clergyman authorized to administer all the sacraments; as, a traveling elder

  7. Eldernoun

    a genus of shrubs (Sambucus) having broad umbels of white flowers, and small black or red berries

  8. Etymology: [OE. ellern, eller, AS. ellen, cf. LG. elloorn; perh. akin to OHG. holantar, holuntar, G. holunder; or perh. to E. alder, n.]


  1. Elder

    An elder in Christianity is a person valued for his wisdom who accordingly holds a particular position of responsibility in a Christian group. In some Christian traditions an elder is a clergy person who usually serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of Word, Sacrament and Order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions, an elder may be a lay person charged with serving as an administrator in a local church, or be ordained to such an office. Particularly in reference to age and experience, elders exist throughout world cultures, and the Christian sense of elder is partially related to this.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Elder

    eld′ėr, n. a genus of plants consisting chiefly of shrubs and trees, with pinnate leaves, small flowers (of which the corolla is wheel-shaped and five-cleft), and three-seeded berries—the Common Elder is the Scotch Bourtree.—ns. Eld′er-berr′y, the acidulous purple-black drupaceous fruit of the elder; Eld′er-gun, a popgun made of elder-wood by extracting the pith; Eld′er-wine, a pleasant wine made from elder-berries.—Elder-flower water, distilled water, with an agreeable odour, made from the flowers. [A.S. ellærn, ellen.]

  2. Elder

    eld′ėr, adj. older: having lived a longer time: prior in origin.—n. one who is older: an ancestor: one advanced to office on account of age: one of a class of office-bearers in the Presbyterian Church—equivalent to the presbyters of the New Testament.—n. Eld′erliness.—adj. Eld′erly, somewhat old: bordering on old age.—n. Eld′ership, state of being older: the office of an elder.—adj. Eld′est, oldest. [A.S. eldra, yldra, comp. of eald, old.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Elder

    a name given to certain office-bearers in the Presbyterian Church, associated with the minister in certain spiritual functions short of teaching and administering sacraments; their duties embrace the general oversight of the congregation, and are of a wider nature than those of the deacons, whose functions are confined strictly to the secular interests of the church; they are generally elected by the church members, and ordained in the presence of the congregation; their term of office is in some cases for a stated number of years, but more generally for life.

Editors Contribution

  1. eldernoun

    God elevation of old age in former times from the past. 1.) of a greater age used to distinguish time and dates between related famous people with the same name.

    Our father El Shaddai sits in the midst of the 24 elders Holy Bible.

    Etymology: Governer

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on April 23, 2024  

Suggested Resources

  1. Elder

    Elder vs. Elderly -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Elder and Elderly.

  2. Elder

    Older vs. Elder -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Older and Elder.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. ELDER

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Elder is ranked #1186 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Elder surname appeared 29,796 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 10 would have the surname Elder.

    79.1% or 23,584 total occurrences were White.
    15.7% or 4,684 total occurrences were Black.
    2.3% or 709 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.8% or 545 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.5% or 155 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.4% or 119 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Elder' in Nouns Frequency: #3014

How to pronounce Elder?

How to say Elder in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Elder in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Elder in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of Elder in a Sentence

  1. Joyce Varner:

    I am going to be an elder orphan, too.

  2. New York:

    We want to make sure that our critical workforce who we’ve relied on from the beginning … that our workers can get back, and John Lamparski/Getty Images includes our health care, elder care, home health care, sanitation, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants — you know who you are.

  3. Lori Varnell:

    He ruthlessly stole from his clients who trusted him for almost a decade. He amassed $32 million in loss to all of his clients and exploited many elder individuals. He worked his way around churches preying on people who believed he was a Christian.

  4. Mike Gottlieb:

    All of the sudden, in walks this elder statesmen type guy surrounded by about 10 armed guards, that's when I knew something was afoot.

  5. Gavin Newsom:

    We turn out our base, we're going to win, unquestionably, it's not a persuasion campaign. People are locked in. But the profound consequences -- particularly the leading candidate on the other side, Larry Elder -- people just need to take a close look.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Elder

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"Elder." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Elder>.

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