Etymology: Middle English, from Old English eald; akin to Old High German alt old, Latin alere to nourish, alescere to grow, altus high, deep
Date: before 12th century
a. dating from the remote past ; ancient <old traditions> b. persisting from an earlier time <an old ailment> <they brought up the same old argument> c. of long standing <an old friend> 2. a. distinguished from an object of the same kind by being of an earlier date <many still used the old name> b. capitalized belonging to an early period in the development of a language or literature <Old Persian> 3. having existed for a specified period of time <a child three years old> 4. of, relating to, or originating in a past era <old chronicles record the event> 5. a. advanced in years or age <an old person> b. showing the characteristics of age <looked old at 20> 6. experienced <an old trooper speaking of the last war> 7. former <his old students> 8. a. showing the effects of time or use ; worn, aged <old shoes> b. no longer in use ; discarded <old rags> c. of a grayish or dusty color <old mauve> d. tiresome <gets old fast> 9. a. long familiar <same old story> <good old Joe> b. — used as an intensive <a high old time> c. — used to express an attitude of affection or amusement <a big old dog> <flex the old biceps> <any old time> Synonyms: old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence <old houses> <an old sweater of mine>. ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past <ancient accounts of dragons>. venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age <the family's venerable patriarch>. antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time <collected antique Chippendale furniture>. antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time <antiquated teaching methods>. archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time <the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period>. obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence <a computer that makes earlier models obsolete>. II. noun Date: 13th century 1. one of a specified age — usually used in combination <a 3-year-old> 2. old or earlier time — used in the phrase of old <the cavalry of old>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.