old Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “old” in the English Dictionary

"old" in British English

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oldadjective

uk   /əʊld/  us   /oʊld/
  • old adjective (NOT YOUNG/NEW)

A1 having ​lived or ​existed for many ​years: an old man We're all getting older. I was ​shocked by how old he ​looked. Now come on, you're old enough to ​tieyour own ​shoelaces, Carlos. I'm too old to be out in the ​clubs every ​night. a ​beautiful old ​farmhouse in the ​country a ​battered old ​car That's an old ​joke - I've ​heard it about a thousand ​times. I ​think this ​cheese is old, ​judging by the ​smell of it.too old disapproving (UK also a bit old, US also a little old) unsuitable because ​intended for older ​people: Don't you ​think that ​book is too old for you?

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  • old adjective (WHAT AGE)

A1 used to ​describe or ​ask about someone's ​age: How old is ​yourfather? Rosie's six ​years old now. It's not very ​dignifiedbehaviour for a 54-year-old man. He's a ​couple of ​years older than me.

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  • old adjective (FROM THE PAST)

A2 [before noun] from a ​period in the past: I ​saw my old ​Englishteacher last ​time I went ​home. He ​bought me a new ​phone to ​replace my old one. She ​showed me her old ​school. I ​saw an old ​boyfriend of mine. In my old ​job I had less ​responsibility.
Synonym

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  • old adjective (LANGUAGE)

Old English, French, etc. a ​language when it was in an early ​stage in ​itsdevelopment
  • old adjective (VERY FAMILIAR)

A2 [before noun] (​especially of a ​friend) ​known for a ​longtime: She's one of my oldest ​friends - we ​met in ​kindergarten. [before noun] informal used before someone's ​name when you are referring to or ​talking to them, to show that you ​know that ​person well and like them: There's old Sara ​working away in the ​corner. I ​hear poor old Frank's ​lost his ​job.

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oldnoun [plural]

uk   /əʊld/  us   /oʊld/
(Definition of old from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"old" in American English

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oldadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /oʊld/
having ​lived or ​existed for a ​longtime in ​comparison to ​others of the same ​kind: An old man ​lives there with his ​dog. They have a ​beautiful old ​farmhouse in the ​country. She got very ​depressed in her old ​age (= the ​time of her ​life when she was old).
(esp. of a ​friend) ​known for a ​longtime: She’s one of my oldest ​friends. infml Old is also used to show that you ​know and like someone: Poor old Frank ​broke his ​arm.
having a ​particularage, or an ​agesuited to a ​particularactivity or ​condition: a 14-year-old Charlie is older than I. You’re old enough to ​knowbetter.
from a ​previoustime or a ​period in the past; ​former : Our old ​house in Lakewood ​burned down. Sharon gave her old ​skates to her ​youngercousin.
(Definition of old from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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