Definitions

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

  • noun An old person, especially an eccentric old man.

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

  • noun Contemptuous, Slang. A queer old fellow; an old chap; sometimes, an old woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun informal, chiefly UK, dated in US A male person.
  • noun informal An old person, usually a male.
  • noun UK A device for boiling water for such domestic uses as heating or washing; a boiler. The normal spelling is water geyser.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a man who is (usually) old and/or eccentric

Etymologies

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

[Probably alteration of dialectal guiser, mummer, masquerader, person who looks odd or acts strangely, from Middle English gysar, from gysen, to dress, from gyse, guise, fashion; see guise.]

Examples

Comments

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  • See comments on mesonoxian. To me this word doesn't in itself connote old age or eccentricity (although it's very often modified by dodgy or old), but is more or less a synonym of bloke, except with a slight imputation of seediness (you wouldn't call someone "a good geezer", but you might use it neutrally, e.g. "who's that geezer?").

    Is this a US/UK difference? I had assumed this word was peculiar to BrE, but apparently not. Is it widespread in the US? I've never heard it used on this side of the Atlantic.

    April 15, 2009

  • Cannot speak for the US, yarb, but as an eccentric old geezer myself, I generally concur. Only generally, though, for I am also a good geezer. Signed gangerh, aka geezerh.

    April 15, 2009

  • In the US, I think this word always refers to an old man, not just any man, and underscores this person's unattractiveness because of his age: How could a babe like Catherine Zeta-Jones marry a geezer like Michael Douglas?

    But I have been out of the US for a number of years and watch a lot of British TV, so I'm never 100% about the more subtle cross-pond (transpond?) distinctions.

    April 15, 2009

  • I think geezers are generally "old", so that the term has slightly age-ist* connotations, but that it is otherwise neutral. There may even be a somewhat positive overtone of feistiness.

    Now codger. That's a different kettle of fish entirely.

    *: Yes, I hate this term as much as you probably do, but it seemed like the most economical option, given the context.

    April 15, 2009

  • Around here (Philadelphia area), geezers are old and male. They drive under the speed limit, hitch their pants up above the navel, and are less likely than codgers to be feisty.

    April 15, 2009

  • The geezers here (Ontario) do all that mollusque said whilst wearing Fedoras. If you see a car with the turn signal left on, chances are the old coot is wearing a hat.

    April 15, 2009

  • I like to shorten geezer to geez. Seems friendlier.

    "The gas pedal is on the RIGHT, geez."

    April 15, 2009

  • Rolig has nailed it. In the U.S. there is definitely a negative connotation; it isn't a neutral thing, such as "bloke." A geezer is always old, I can't think of an instance where it's applied to a female, and he's generally negative (e.g. Michael Douglas). There is often a comical aspect to its usage.

    April 15, 2009

  • I'll add my vote to the growing North American consensus -- here in upstate New York, "Geezer" refers to someone who's really, really old. The word is informal, comical, and slightly pejorative.

    April 16, 2009

  • I take umbrage. It is informal, pejorative, and slightly comical. I take umbrage, I say! Shall we, as they say, throw down?!

    *is not really interested in throwing down with ptero or anyone else but is at a loss for what else to say to liven up a stupid day*

    April 16, 2009