from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The length of time that a person or thing has existed.
  • noun The time of life when a person becomes qualified to assume certain civil and personal rights and responsibilities, usually at 18 or 21 years; legal age.
  • noun One of the stages of life.
  • noun The state of being old; old age.
  • noun A period of time marked by a distinctive characteristic, achievement, or figure.
  • noun A period in the history of the earth, usually shorter than an epoch.
  • noun The period of history during which a person lives.
  • noun A generation.
  • noun Informal An extended period of time.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become old or to show the signs of becoming old.
  • intransitive verb To cause to mature or ripen under controlled conditions.
  • intransitive verb To change (the characteristics of a device) through use, especially to stabilize (an electronic device).
  • intransitive verb To become old or show signs of becoming old.
  • intransitive verb To develop a certain quality of ripeness; become mature.
  • idiom (come of age) To reach maturity.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A noun suffix of French, ultimately of Latin origin.
  • noun The fat obtained from the Coccus axin of Mexico. Also called axin.
  • To grow old; assume the appearance of old age: as, he ages rapidly.
  • To make old; cause to grow or to seem old; produce the effect of age upon; bring to maturity or to a state fit for use; give the character of age or ripeness to: as, to age wine, clay, etc.
  • noun The length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of; period or stage of life in the history of an individual existence, animate or inanimate: as, his age is twenty years; he died at the age of eighty; at your age you should know better; a tree or a building of unknown age; to live to a great age; old age.
  • noun Duration of existence, specifically or generally; the lifetime of an individual, or of the individuals of a class or species on an average: as, the age of the horse is from twenty-five to thirty years.
  • noun A period of human life usually marked by a certain stage of physical or mental development; especially, a degree of development, approximately or presumptively measured by years from birth, which involves responsibility to law and capacity to act with legal effect: as, the age of discretion or of maturity (the former technically occurring some years prior to the latter, about the age of fourteen).
  • noun The particular period of life at which one becomes naturally or conventionally qualified or disqualified for anything: as, at 46 a man is over age and cannot be enlisted; under age for the presidency; canonical age (which see, below).
  • noun Specifically, old age (see 1); the latter part of life or of long-continued existence; the lapse of time, especially as affecting a person's physical or mental powers; the state of being old; oldness.
  • noun An aged person, or old people collectively.
  • noun One of the periods or stages of development into which human life may be divided; time of life: as, life is divided into four ages, infancy, youth, manhood or womanhood, and old age.
  • noun A particular period of history, as distinguished from others; a historical epoch: as, the golden age; the age of heroes; the age of Pericles; the dramatists of the Elizabethan age. See ages in mythology and history, below.
  • noun In geology, a great period of the history of the earth, characterized by the development of some particular phase of organic life or of physical condition: as, the age of reptiles; the age of ice.
  • noun The people who live at a particular period; hence, a generation or a succession of generations: as, ages yet unborn.
  • noun A century; the period of one hundred years, as in the phrases dark ages, middle ages, etc.
  • noun A great length of time; a protracted period: as, I have not seen you for an age.
  • noun In poker, the eldest hand, or the first player to the left of the dealer who bets.
  • noun The dark ages, a period of European history, beginning with or shortly before the fall of the Roman Empire of the West (a. d. 476), marked by a general decline of learning and civilization. It was introduced by the great influx of barbarians into western Europe in the fourth and fifth centuries known as the wandering of the nations, and is reckoned by Hallam as extending to the eleventh century, when a general revival of wealth, manners, taste, and learning began, and by others to the time of Dante in the thirteenth century, or later. The middle ages, a period of about a thousand years, between the close of what is technically considered ancient history and the first definite movements in Europe of the distinctively modern spirit of freedom and enterprise. Its beginning is synchronous with that of the dark ages, and it is variously reckoned as extending to the fall of Constantinople (1453), the invention of printing, the Renaissance, or the discovery of America, in the fifteenth century, or to the Reformation, in the early part of the sixteenth. The feudal ages, a portion of the middle ages, marked by the prevalence of feudal institutions and of the spirit of chivalry, extending from their nearly universal establishment in the tenth century to their decline in the sixteenth.
  • noun In Anglican churches, the age at which a man may be ordained to any one of the three grades of the ministry.
  • To expose (mordanted or dyed cloth) to the air in order to fix the mordant or dye in insoluble form.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To grow aged; to become old; to show marks of age.
  • noun The whole duration of a being, whether animal, vegetable, or other kind; lifetime.
  • noun That part of the duration of a being or a thing which is between its beginning and any given time; as, what is the present age of a man, or of the earth?
  • noun The latter part of life; an advanced period of life; seniority; state of being old.
  • noun One of the stages of life
  • noun Mature age; especially, the time of life at which one attains full personal rights and capacities.
  • noun The time of life at which some particular power or capacity is understood to become vested
  • noun A particular period of time in history, as distinguished from others.
  • noun A great period in the history of the Earth.
  • noun A century; the period of one hundred years.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French aage, from Vulgar Latin *aetāticum, from Latin aetās, aetāt-, age; see aiw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English age, from Anglo-Norman age, from Old French aage, eage (Modern French âge), from assumed unattested Vulgar Latin *aetāticum, from Latin aetātem, accusative form of aetās, from aevum ("lifetime"). Displaced native Middle English elde ("age") (modern eld; from Old English eldo, ieldo ("age")).


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  • "Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough."

    "Middle age is when you go to bed at night and hope you feel better in the morning. Old age is when you go to bed at night and hope you wake up in the morning."

    - both quotes by Groucho Marx.

    December 29, 2007

  • "I will not make age an issue. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

    Ronald Reagan, age 73, when debating with rival Walter Mondale, age 56, in 1984.

    October 15, 2008