- somewhat old; past middle age; approaching old age
- quite old; already in old age; aged
- not current; outmoded
An elderly woman in a wheelchair.
An example of elderly is a man in his 80s.
An example of the elderly is the group of residents in a home for older people.
Usage Note: Elderly applies to the stage of life well past middle age. When used as a noun in referring to older persons in general, it is relatively neutral, denoting a group of people whose common characteristic is advanced age: policy issues of special interest to the elderly. However, when used as an adjective in describing a particular person, elderly has a range of connotations that go beyond the denotation of chronological age. On the one hand it can suggest dignity, and its somewhat formal tone may express respect: sat next to an elderly gentleman at the concert. On the other hand it can imply frailty or diminished capacity, in which case it may sound condescending: was stuck in traffic behind an elderly driver. Regardless of other connotations, a phrase such as the elderly couple in the second row suggests greater age than if the couple were described as older. See Usage Note at senior.
elder + -ly