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old Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun past times (especially in the phrase `in days of old')
  2. adjective (used especially of persons) having lived for a relatively long time or attained a specific age
    • his mother is very old
    • a ripe old age
    • how old are you?
  3. adjective of long duration; not new
    • old tradition
    • old house
    • old wine
    • old country
    • old friendships
    • old money
  4. adjective satellite (used for emphasis) very familiar
    • good old boy
    • same old story
  5. adjective satellite skilled through long experience
    • an old offender
    • the older soldiers
  6. adjective satellite belonging to some prior time
    erstwhile; quondam; onetime; sometime; one-time; former.
    • erstwhile friend
    • our former glory
    • the once capital of the state
    • her quondam lover
  7. adjective satellite (used informally especially for emphasis)
    honest-to-goodness; honest-to-god; sure-enough.
    • a real honest-to-god live cowboy
    • had us a high old time
    • went upriver to look at a sure-enough fish wheel
  8. adjective satellite of a very early stage in development
    • Old English is also called Anglo Saxon
    • Old High German is High German from the middle of the 9th to the end of the 11th century
  9. adjective satellite just preceding something else in time or order
    • the previous owner
    • my old house was larger

Old noun
  1. Open country. Obs. See World. Shak.
Old adjective
OE. old, ald, AS. ald, eald; akin to D. oud, OS. ald, OFries. ald, old, G. alt, Goth. alpeis, and also to Goth. alan to grow up, Icel. ala to bear, produce, bring up, L. alere to nourish. Cf. Adult, Alderman, Aliment, Auld, Elder.
comparative Older ; superlative Oldest
  1. Not young; advanced far in years or life; having lived till toward the end of the ordinary term of living; as, an old man; an old age; an old horse; an old tree.
    Let not old age disgrace my high desire. Sir P. Sidney.
    The melancholy news that we grow old. Young.
  2. Not new or fresh; not recently made or produced; having existed for a long time; as, old wine; an old friendship. "An old acquaintance." Camden.
  3. Formerly existing; ancient; not modern; preceding; original; as, an old law; an old custom; an old promise. "The old schools of Greece." Milton. "The character of the old Ligurians." Addison.
  4. Continued in life; advanced in the course of existence; having (a certain) length of existence; -- designating the age of a person or thing; as, an infant a few hours old; a cathedral centuries old.
    And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? Cen. xlvii. 8.
    ✍ In this use old regularly follows the noun that designates the age; as, she was eight years old.
  5. Long practiced; hence, skilled; experienced; cunning; as, an old offender; old in vice.
    Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old. Milton.
  6. Long cultivated; as, an old farm; old land, as opposed to new land, that is, to land lately cleared.
  7. Worn out; weakened or exhausted by use; past usefulness; as, old shoes; old clothes.
  8. More than enough; abundant. Obs.
    If a man were porter of hell gate, he should have old turning the key. Shak.
  9. Aged; antiquated; hence, wanting in the mental vigor or other qualities belonging to youth; -- used disparagingly as a term of reproach.
  10. Old-fashioned; wonted; customary; as of old; as, the good old times; hence, colloquially, gay; jolly.
  11. Used colloquially as a term of cordiality and familiarity. "Go thy ways, old lad." Shak. Syn. -- Aged; ancient; pristine; primitive; antique; antiquated; old-fashioned; obsolete. See Ancient.

Webster 1913