on in years

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on in years (not generally comparable, comparative more on in years, superlative most on in years)

  1. (idiomatic, mildly euphemistic) Old; advanced in age.
    • 1853, Charles Dickens, "The Schoolboy's Story":
      Being rather young at present—I am getting on in years, but still I am rather young—I have no particular adventures of my own to fall back upon.
    • 1893, William Butler Yeats, "An Enduring Heart" in The Celtic Twilight:
      More years went by, and his wife was dead, and he well on in years.
    • 1905, George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara, Act 3:
      I am getting on in years; and my partner Lazarus has at last made a stand and insisted that the succession must be settled.
    • 1909, F. Marion Crawford, A Roman Singer, ch. 20:
      [O]ld as I am,—I do not mean aged, but well on in years,—I believe in love still.
    • 2004 May 24, Alice Park, "Health: Old Bones, New Hope," Time:
      Brittle bones can be more than just a bother for anyone who is getting on in years.

Usage notes[edit]

Often preceded by the verb get.