Meaning of “elder” in the English Dictionary

"elder" in British English

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eldernoun [ C ]

uk /ˈel.dər/ us /ˈel.dɚ/


uk /ˈel.dər/ us /ˈel.dɚ/
elder sister/brother/son/daughter

More examples

  • Karen has always felt overshadowed by her famous elder sister.
  • After she was widowed, she shared a house with her elder brother.

B1 a sister/brother/son/daughter who is older than the other sister(s), brother(s), etc.

the elder

B2 the older person of two people:

Of the two brothers Harvey is the elder.

used after someone's name to show that they are the older of two people who have the same name, especially a father and son:

William Pitt the elder

(Definition of “elder” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"elder" in American English

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eldernoun [ C ]

us /ˈel·dər/

an older person, esp. one who deserves respect:

You should listen to your elders.

An elder is also an official in particular religious groups.

elderadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈel·dər/

(of a family member) older:

an elder brother/sister

(Definition of “elder” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)