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old - definition and synonyms


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adjective old pronunciation in British English /əʊld/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    used for talking about the age of someone or something
    how old: She didn’t mention how old her children were.
    ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m 5 years old.’
    old enough to do something: He’s not old enough to see this film.
    too old to do something: Aren’t you too old to play with dolls?
    1. a.
      used for saying that someone is not as young as other people
      He’s 26 now, which is quite old in this sport.
      the oldest: He’s the oldest boy in his class.
      older than: I’m older than my brother.
  2. 2
    someone or something that is old has lived a long time
    A lot of old people live alone.
    Trees are the oldest living things on the planet.
    get/grow old: I hope I’ll still be able to play golf when I get old.
  3. 3
    something that is old has existed or been used for a long time
    There’s an old belief that animals can predict earthquakes.
    Her sewing machine’s really old – it was her mother’s.
    1. a.
      [only before noun] used in a negative way about something that is not useful or in good condition any longer
      Why do you keep all these old newspapers?
      That old car of theirs is getting so unreliable.
    2. b.
      [only before noun] used in a positive way about something that is very familiar
      It was nice to get back into my old routine.
  4. 4
    [only before noun] used for describing something that existed, happened, or was used in the past
    ‘Thy’ is an old way of saying ‘your’.
    Look at all these old machines!
    1. a.
      used for referring to something that has been replaced by a newer thing of the same type
      The old motorway to Glasgow only had two lanes.
    2. b.
      used with the names of towns and countries, for referring to the oldest part or to the way it was in the past
      a tour of Warsaw’s picturesque Old Town
  5. 5
    informal used for showing that you like someone and care about them
    How is my old buddy Jim?
    dear old: Dear old Aunty Emily – what would we do without her?


See also


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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