“Elder” vs. “Older”: What’s the Difference?

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The difference between “elder” and “older”

  • Although generally interchangeable, "elder" is a bit more formal than "older."
  • "Elder" is often used to describe people, while "older" can refer to a variety of subjects.
  • "Elder" can have cultural significance, as it is often tied to traditional values of respect for elders in many societies.
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What is the definition of “elder” and “older”?

  • "Elder" refers specifically to the higher age bracket within a family or community.
  • It is commonly used as a sign of respect for the wisdom and experience that comes with age.
  • The term is often associated with leadership, as the elder members of a group may hold more authority.
  • "Older" generally refers to a higher number of years lived, without emphasizing a specific position or role within a group.
  • It can refer to anything from objects and buildings to people and animals.
  • The term is often used in comparisons, as in "older than" or "older sibling."

Which is the more popular variant on the Internet?

“Older” is the more popular variant on the web.
291,000,000 results on the web
  1. My elder brother is getting married next month.
  2. The elder members of the community decided to hold a fundraiser.
  3. I always sought advice from my elder sister when I was growing up.
More popular
2,370,000,000 results on the web
  1. Sarah is older than her younger brother by four years.
  2. As people grow older, they tend to become more set in their ways.
  3. The building is older and doesn't seem to have running water.
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