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From Middle English *elderdom, alderdom, from Old English ealdordōm (greatness, power, authority, lordship, eldership, rule, dominion, magistracy, principality, superiority, preeminence, primacy, government, any official position involving command of others, beginning), equivalent to elder +‎ -dom. Cognate with West Frisian âlderdom (eld, old age, antiquity), Swedish ålderdom (eld, age).


elderdom (uncountable)

  1. Authority; dominion.
    • 1852, Alfred (King of England), The whole works of King Alfred the Great:
      Both of these things Moses fulfilled, when he refused elderdom or authority, [...]
  2. Preeminence; superiority.
    • 1773, Paulus Orosius, Daines Barrington, The Anglo-Saxon version:
      The name of one of these was Claudius, who arrogated to himself elderdom over the others, though they by no means allowed his claim of superiority, hut quarrelled with him.
  3. The authority, rule, or office of an elder.
    • 2005, Philip Sheldrake, The new Westminster dictionary of Christian spirituality:
      Hence the popular belief that elderdom was most of all at home on Russian soil.
  4. The state of being an elder, or of being older; elderhood.
    • 2010, Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., Janis Abrahms Spring, Michael Spring, Life with Pop: Lessons on Caring for an Aging Parent:
      Thanks to him, I have a better sense of what it takes to morph gracefully into elderdom.
  5. The role or influence of an elder or elders.
    • 2005, Hortense Calisher, Tattoo for a Slave:
      The weight of elderdom in our family was like a drapery to be taken for granted. In which anyone could at times gratefully hide.

Related terms[edit]