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See also: alter, älter, and alter-



  • IPA(key): /ˈaltər/
    • (most of Germany, some of Austria) IPA(key): [ˈʔaltɐ]
    • (Switzerland, some of Germany and Austria) IPA(key): [ˈʔaltər]
  • (interjection) IPA(key): /ˈal(d)ɐ/
  • (file)
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle High German alter, from Old High German altar, from Proto-Germanic *aldrą. Cognate with German Low German Oller.


Alter n (strong, genitive Alters, plural Alter)

  1. age, old age
    • 1834, Rahel. Ein Buch des Andenkens für ihre Freunde. Erster Theil, Berlin, page 275:
      Sie sind Eines Alters [...]
      They are of the same age [...]
  2. antiquity
  3. epoch, age
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
  • Luxembourgish: Alter

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Nominalization of adjective alt.


Alter m (adjectival, definite nominative der Alte, genitive (des) Alten, plural Alte, definite plural die Alten, feminine Alte)

  1. nominalization of alt (someone or something old or bygone)
  2. old man; old person
  3. (colloquial) mate, bloke (UK); dude, guy (US); a somewhat intimate or mildly dismissive word for a man, especially but not exclusively used as a vocative
    Synonyms: (regional) Keule, Mann, Kumpel, Digga
    Alter! Komm zurück, wir müssen hier links.
    Dude! Come back, we need to go left here.
    Haste ma ’n Euro für was zu essen, Alter?
    You got a euro for summat to eat, mate?
    Wenn irgendso’n Alter hier Ärger macht, schmeiß ihn gleich raus.
    If some bloke acts up in here, kick him right out.
    Ihr Alter hat sie sitzen lassen.Her guy jilted her.



  1. (colloquial, chiefly slang) man, dude, mate; used for emphasis
    Alter, was denn hier los?
    Man, what’s going on in here?
Usage notes[edit]
  • This use is derived from the word for a man above and is not always clearly distinguishable from it. It is more marked as slang, however, and is also quite common when addressing a female (the latter part in line with the more usual synonym Mann).
Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]


Alter f

  1. inflection of Alte:
    1. strong genitive/dative singular
    2. strong genitive plural

Further reading[edit]

  • Alter” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • Alter” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • Alter” in Duden online
  • Alter” in Duden online



From German Alter n. The masculine gender, though existing dialectally in German, is probably triggered by French âge.



Alter m (plural Alteren)

  1. age
  2. old age