The word "elder" is similar to "old" or "older." It’s generally used when referring to older people. You can use this word as an adjective or as a noun:

  • You should respect your elders.
  • Jeremy’s elder brother moved in with him. (His older brother moved in with him.)
  • Jimmy Carter is an elder statesmen and former President of the United States.
  • The village elders came together to decide how to fix the problems in their community.

The word "elderly" is an adjective. Use it as a polite way of saying that a person is old.

  • Marta is caring for an elderly parent.
  • That building houses elderly residents.
  • Bill says that he doesn’t feel elderly even though he has passed the age of 80.
  • We have an elderly dog that needs a lot of care.


Many elderly people are able to get around with the use of a cane.

Click here to learn more words.

Published on January 5, 2014