There are 2 main definitions of elder in English:

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elder 1

Pronunciation: /ˈɛldə/

adjective

1(Of one or more out of a group of associated people) of a greater age: my elder daughter the elder of the two sons
More example sentences
  • He was the one who wanted to sleep with his elder brother's wife.
  • His elder brother Ian joined the army and became a lieutenant-colonel in the SAS.
  • She is to be looked after as a mother and respected as an elder sister.
Synonyms
older, senior, first, firstborn, more grown up, big
1.1 (the Elder) Used to distinguish between related famous people with the same name: Pitt the Elder
More example sentences
  • As one of his final actions before leaving the White House in 1992, the elder George Bush, the father of the current president, pardoned Abrams.
  • Dowd was a White House reporter under the elder Bush.
  • One picture shows Wilson and the elder Bush walking through the White House grounds deep in conversation, 30 hours before the launch of the first Gulf war.

noun

1 (one's elders) People who are older than one: schoolchildren were no less fascinated than their elders
More example sentences
  • Maybe my moral outlook is the result of general respect for elders and betters.
  • It is important to keep a sense of proportion about these things and, it seems to me, there are times when our elders and betters lose the run of themselves.
  • Thank goodness that they have little or no respect for their supposed elders and betters
1.1 (one's elder) A person who is older than one by a specified length of time: she was two years his elder
More example sentences
  • He married at age 25 a woman 15 years his elder, and stayed with her for 29 years until she died.
  • He had a brother who was a Canon of Southwark Cathedral, and leaves a sister, a few years his elder, who still lives in the family house in Surrey.
2 (often elders) A leader or senior figure in a tribe or other group: a council of village elders
More example sentences
  • One of the tribe's elders remembered the Yawalapiti village used to be in a forest clearing near the Tuatuari River.
  • Closest to the fire sat the village elders and leaders, then sat the able-bodied men, and the outside of the huddle consisted of the women and children.
  • In Kabul, they were handed over to village chiefs and tribal elders who pledged to support the new administration.
Synonyms
senior, old/older person
leader, senior figure, official, patriarch, father, guiding light, guru
2.1An official in the early Christian Church, or of various Protestant Churches and sects: he left the Church of which he had been an elder
More example sentences
  • The church made its first momentous step toward diversity when the elders of the church in Jerusalem opened the Christian movement to gentiles.
  • The elders of Walton Evangelical Church led the induction service.
  • For example, Paul reminded the elders of the church of Ephesus of one saying of Jesus.
2.2 historical A member of a senate or governing body.
Example sentences
  • The twenty-eight elders, who were members for life, seem drawn in practice, if not by law, from a narrow range of families in the upper echelons of Spartan society.
  • According to Mir Walijan, an aide to the Khost governor, Sabri elders had radioed the governor during the bombing for help.
  • How should the members of this informal elders council be chosen?

Derivatives

eldership

Pronunciation: /ˈɛldəʃɪp/
noun
Example sentences
  • The eldership is a very strong element of our tradition and we expressed a lot of concern about the reduction in their role under the proposed new structure.
  • She congratulated him on his 40 years in the world of art and on his recent award of a staff of eldership and chief's title in the Orisha community.
  • The Moderator has said her appointment should be a significant boost to the eldership in Scotland and to the role of women in the church.

Origin

Old English ieldra, eldra, of Germanic origin; related to German älter, also to eld and old.

Words that rhyme with elder

Griselda, welder, Zelda

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Line breaks: elder

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There are 2 main definitions of elder in English:

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elder 2

Pronunciation: /ˈɛldə/

noun

1A small tree or shrub with pithy stems, white flowers, and bluish-black or red berries.
Example sentences
  • A factory farm stood silent and abandoned, hedges of elders dripped berries and were decorated with white trumpets of bindweed.
  • In Prussia the coal of the alder, lime tree, poplar, elder, willow, hemp, and hazel is used for powder.
  • It connected us with a fruity hedge with brambles, rosehips, sloes, and a hundred yards of elders weighed down with berries.
1.1Used in names of plants that resemble the elder in leaf or flower, e.g. ground elder.
Example sentences
  • Ground elder is edible and was used as a medicinal herb in the Middle Ages to cure gout.
  • The back half of our garden is infested with ground elder.
  • Q. I have about 40 maple and box elder trees on my lot.

Origin

Old English ellærn; related to Middle Low German ellern, elderne.

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Line breaks: elder

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