Language: Old English
Origin: eald


old S1 W1 comparative older, superlative oldest

not new

something that is old has existed or been used for a long time [≠ new]:
a pair of old shoes
Some of the houses around here are very old.
one of our oldest traditions
The car's getting old now, and things are starting to go wrong with it.
That story's as old as the hills (=extremely old).

not young

a) someone who is old has lived for a very long time [≠ young]:
an old man
a home for old people
get /grow old
I can't run around like I used to - I must be getting old.

the old

[plural] people who are old:
the care of the old and sick


used to talk about how long a person or thing has lived or existed
5/10/50 etc years old
I can't believe you're nearly forty years old!
a house that's 300 years old
How old are you?
Are you older than Sally?
You're old enough to get your own breakfast now.
I'm not coming skating. I'm too old for that now.
5-year-old/10-year-old etc somebody/something
a six-week-old baby
a five-hundred-year old sword
somebody is old enough to know better (=used to say that you think someone should behave more sensibly)
somebody is old enough to be his/her/your mother/father (=used to say that someone is too old to be having a sexual relationship with someone else)

that you used to have

[only before noun] your old house, job, girlfriend etc is one that you used to have [= former]:
I met up with one of my old girlfriends at the weekend.
My old car was always breaking down.
That happened when we were still in the old house.
My old boss was awful!
old flame (=someone with whom you used to have a romantic relationship)


[only before noun] old things are things that are familiar to you because you have seen them or experienced them many times before:
It's good to get back into the old routine.
I enjoyed seeing all the old familiar faces.
He comes out with the same old excuses every time!

➔ it's the same old story

at story (9)

very well known

[only before noun] an old friend, enemy etc is someone you have known for a long time:
Bob's an old friend of mine.
an old colleague
They're old rivals.

the old days

times in the past
in the old days
In the old days people used to fetch water from the pump.

the good old days/the bad old days

an earlier time in your life, or in history, when things seemed better or worse than now:
We like to chat about the good old days.

be/feel/look like your old self

to feel or look better again after you have been ill or very unhappy:
It's good to see you looking more like your old self again.

any old thing/place/time etc

spoken used to say that it does not matter which thing, place etc you choose:
Oh, just wear any old thing.
Phone any old time - I'm always here.

any old how/way

spoken in an untidy or careless way:
The papers had been dumped on my desk any old how.

good/poor/silly old etc somebody

spoken used to talk about someone you like:
Good old Keith!
You poor old thing!

a good old something

also a right old something British English spoken used to talk about something you enjoy:
We had a good old talk.

old devil/rascal etc

spoken used to talk about someone you like and admire:
You old devil! You were planning this all along!

old fool/bastard/bat etc

spoken not polite used to talk very rudely about someone you do not like:
the stupid old cow

the old guard

a group of people within an organization or club who do not like changes or new ideas:
He'll never manage to persuade the old guard.

be an old hand (at something)

to have a lot of experience of something:
I'm an old hand at this game.

be old before your time

to look or behave like someone much older than you, especially because of difficulties in your life

for old times' sake

if you do something for old times' sake, you do it to remind yourself of a happy time in the past

the old country

especially American EnglishSAN the country that you were born in, but that you no longer live in, used especially to mean Europe

an old head on young shoulders

British English a young person who seems to think and behave like an older person

pay/settle an old score

to punish someone for something wrong that they did to you in the past

of/from the old school

old-fashioned and believing in old ideas and customs:
a doctor of the old school

old wives' tale

a belief based on old ideas that are now considered to be untrue

of old

literary from a long time ago in the past:
the knights of old

Old English/Old Icelandic etc

SLL an early form of English, Icelandic etc
PEOPLE: elderly a polite word used to describe someone who is old
aged between about 50 and 60 years old
senior citizen
/senior American English/pensioner British English/retiree American English someone over 60 who has stopped working
old and mentally ill
, geriatric, be getting on, be past it, be over the hill, be no spring chicken informal words and expressionsused to describe someone who is old, often used humorously
geriatric medicine, care, hospitals etc are for old people

THINGS/PLACES: ancient ancient civilizations, cities, buildings, traditions etc existed many hundreds of years ago
existing many thousands of years ago
antique furniture, jewellery etc is old and often valuable

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