An elder is any person who is older than you, which you may know from your sister who is only two years older than you saying, "Listen to your elders!" A church elder is someone who helps run the church, not necessarily its eldest member.

Elder can be used as an adjective: Abel was the elder brother of Cain. Elder can also be a noun: showing respect for one’s elders is a value instilled from a young age by our parents. Elder is also a kind of tree. In Act Five of “Love’s Labour Lost” Shakespeare plays with the meanings of elder: Holofernes says that Berowne should speak first because he is the elder (older), which inspires Berowne to mention the folklore that Judas was hanged on an elder tree.

Definitions of elder
  1. noun
    a person who is older than you are
    synonyms: senior
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    dean, doyen
    a man who is the senior member of a group
    a woman who is the senior member of a group
    type of:
    adult, grownup
    a fully developed person from maturity onward
  2. adjective
    used of the older of two persons of the same name especially used to distinguish a father from his son
    synonyms: older, sr.
    older; higher in rank; longer in length of tenure or service
  3. noun
    any of various church officers
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    an elder in the Presbyterian Church
    type of:
    church officer
    a church official
  4. noun
    any of numerous shrubs or small trees of temperate and subtropical northern hemisphere having white flowers and berrylike fruit
    synonyms: elderberry bush
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    American elder, Sambucus canadensis, black elderberry, sweet elder
    common elder of central and eastern North America bearing purple-black berries; fruit used in wines and jellies
    Sambucus caerulea, blue elder, blue elderberry
    shrub or small tree of western United States having white flowers and blue berries; fruit used in wines and jellies
    Sambucus ebulus, danewort, dwarf elder
    dwarf herbaceous elder of Europe having pink flowers and a nauseous odor
    European elder, Sambucus nigra, black elder, bourtree, common elder, elderberry
    a common shrub with black fruit or a small tree of Europe and Asia; fruit used for wines and jellies
    American red elder, Sambucus pubens, red-berried elder, stinking elder
    common North American shrub or small tree
    European red elder, Sambucus racemosa, red-berried elder
    Eurasian shrub
    type of:
    bush, shrub
    a low woody perennial plant usually having several major stems
Word Family