American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Greater than another in age or seniority.
- adj. Superior to another or others, as in rank.
- n. An older person.
- n. An older, influential member of a family, tribe, or community.
- n. One of the governing officers of a church, often having pastoral or teaching functions.
- n. Mormon Church A member of the higher order of priesthood.
- n. Any of various shrubs or small trees of the genus Sambucus, having clusters of small white flowers and red or purplish-black berrylike fruit.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Older; senior; having lived a longer time; born, produced, or formed before something else: opposed to younger.
- Prior in origin or appointment; preceding in the date of a commission; senior: as, an elder officer or magistrate.
- Prior in time; earlier; former.
- n. One who is older than another or others; an elderly person.
- n. A forefather; a predecessor; one of a former generation in the same family, class, or community.
- n. In the Old Testament, a title of indefinite signification applied to various officers, but generally indicating in the earlier history the princes or heads of tribes, and afterward men of special influence, dignity, and authority in their local community. In the New Testament the elders are the lay element in the Sanhedrim, the supreme court of the Jewish nation in the first century.
- n. In the New Testament, also the title of certain officers in the Christian church, whose functions are not clearly defined, but who apparently exercised a considerable control in the conduct of the local churches. Scholars are not agreed as to the limits or nature of their authority. The Presbyterians maintain that there were two classes of elders (1 Tim. v. 17; 1 Cor. xii. 2S; Rom. xii. 6-8; Acts xv. 25, 26, xx. 28; Heb. xiii. 7, 17). The Congregationalists on the one hand, and the Episcopalians on the other, maintain that there was no distinction between ruling and teaching elders, the elder or presbyter being in their judgment identical with the pastor or shepherd of the flock (Acts xx. 28; 1 Thes. v. 12; Heb. xiii. 7, 17; 1 Tim. v. 17).
- n. In certain Protestant churches, an officer exercising governmental functions, either with or without teaching or pastoral functions. In churches of the Baptist persuasion the pastors of churches are usually called
elders, although the class especially so called are not settled pastors, but evangelists and missionaries.
- n. In some bodies of American Methodists elder is the general term for any clergyman. In the Methodist Episcopal Church the presiding elder is an ordained clergyman appointed by and serving under the bishop as superintendent, with large though carefully defined supervisory powers within a specified “district,” which usually corresponds somewhat in extent to an average county in an eastern State. In this district every minister is amenable to him, and every church is subject to his supervision and is usually visited by him three or four times during the year. He presides at Quarterly and often at District Conferences. Traveling elders are itinerant preachers appointed by the Annual Conference.
- n. In the Mormon Church the elder is an officer whose duty it is “to preach and baptize; to ordain other elders, and also priests, teachers, and deacons; to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; to bless children; and to take the lead of all meetings.” The elders constitute the Melchizedek priesthood, and include the apostles, the Seventy, the evangelists or patriarchs, and the high priest. Mormon Catechism, xvii.
- n. Among the Shakers, four elders, two males and two females (the latter also called elderesses), have charge of each of the aggregated families.
- n. The common name for species of Sambucus. The ordinary elder of Europe is S. nigra, and that of North America is S. Canadensis, both with black-purple berries, well known as shrubs of rapid growth, the stems containing an unusual amount of pith. The red-berried elder of the United States is S. racemosa, and the dwarf or ground elder of Europe is S. Ebulus. From the dried pith of the elder-tree balls for electrical purposes are made. The wood is also used for inferior turnery-work, weavers' shuttles, nettingpins, and shoemakers' pegs.
- n. In the United States, the Aralia hispida.
- n. Same as wild elder (under elder).
- n. Same as wild elder (under elder).
- n. Same as pale elder.
- n. A small tree of the genus Sambucus having white flowers in a cluster, and purple berries.
- adj. Comparative of old; greater than another in age or seniority.
- n. An older person or an older member, usually a leader, of some community.
- n. One who is older than another.
- n. An officer of a church, sometimes having teaching responsibilities
- n. US, Mormonism The lowest office in the Melchizedek priesthood.
- n. US, Mormonism One ordained to the office of elder.
- n. US, Mormonism Male missionary, title for a male missionary; title for a general authority.
- n. A pagan or Heathen priest or priestess.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Older; more aged, or existing longer.
- adj. Born before another; prior in years; senior; earlier; older; ; -- opposed to
younger, and now commonly applied to a son, daughter, child, brother, etc.
- n. One who is older; a superior in age; a senior.
- n. An aged person; one who lived at an earlier period; a predecessor.
- n. 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
- n. (M. E. Ch.) A clergyman authorized to administer all the sacraments.
- n. (Bot.) A genus of shrubs (Sambucus) having broad umbels of white flowers, and small black or red berries.
- n. any of various church officers
- n. a person who is older than you are
- adj. used of the older of two persons of the same name especially used to distinguish a father from his son
- n. any of numerous shrubs or small trees of temperate and subtropical northern hemisphere having white flowers and berrylike fruit
- From Middle English eldre, eller, from Old English ellærn, from Proto-Germanic *el(d)ernaz (confer Low German Elhorn, Elloorn), adjectival from Proto-Indo-European *h₁edʰ-l-i 'spruce, fir' (compare Middle Irish aidlen 'silver fir', Latin ebulus ("dwarf elder"), Old Prussian addle 'fir', Czech jedle 'silver fir', Ancient Greek ἐλάτη (elate, "silver fir") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English eldre, from Old English eldra. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term elder, or old man as the Hebrew literally imports, was one of extensive use, as an official title, among the Hebrews and the surrounding nations, because the heads of tribes and the leading people who had acquired influence were naturally the older people of the nation.”
“Taking care of a elder is a emotional challenge because of some of the negative behavior exhibited by the elder.”
“Southern comfortable gentleman waits in elder shadows for bears & bunnys.”
“The elder is smoking while looking at the riverside, waiting for the ritual of God Boat Burning to proceed.”
“He refers to the elder Dubus affectionately as "Pop" and doesn't seem embittered by the havoc the man wreaked on his family.”
“Mark Isaacs, former chief of psychological services at Spring Grove Hospital in Catonsville, Md., who is known as an elder statesman of the program, said "the whole atmosphere became charged with tension" after the changes earlier this year.”
“The thing about George Bush the elder is that if you paid enough attention to him and what he said, at a certain point you could safely assume that whatever statement issued from his mouth, invariably the opposite was the case. —”
“Mr. Gore being a party elder is a result of more than age, Both you and John Edwards might as well wait until June 3rd.”
“Democratic aides, speaking anonymously, said Lieberman told Reid he would actually go so far as to support a Republican-led filibuster against the bill if it contained any of the provisions (such as long term elder care, or help for the disabled) that he opposed.”
“Ultimately, a friend who works in elder care made the difference, by describing some of the horrible foreskin infections she has had to treat in older patients.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘elder’.
It's fun to find the politically incorrect equivalents. To see more (lesser common but still funny ones) check http://www.bored.com/pcphrases/
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from the poetry and prose of walt whitman
Hopefully, I'll be using this site for more than one year. It will be fun then to look back and see what new words I found worthy of notice in any given year.
All words spotted in 2008...
Plants - no rhyme or reason.
Looking for tweets for elder.