American Dictionary of the English Language

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ELD, noun Old age; decrepitude.

1. Old people; persons worn out with age.

[This word is entirely obsolete. But its derivative elder is in use.]

ELD'ER, adjective

1. Older; senior; having lived a longer time; born, produced or formed before something else; opposed to younger.

The elder shall serve the younger. Genesis 25:23.

His elder son was in the field. Luke 15:25.

2. Prior in origin; preceding in the date of a commission; as an elder officer or magistrate. In this sense, we generally use senior.

ELD'ER, , noun One who is older than another or others.

1. An ancestor.

Carry your head as your elders have done before you.

2. A person advanced in life, and who, on account of his age, experience and wisdom, is selected for office, Among rude nations, elderly men are rulers, judges, magistrates or counselors. Among the Jews, the seventy men associated with Moses in the government of the people, were elders. In the first christian churches, elders were persons who enjoyed offices or ecclesiastical functions, and the word includes apostles, pastors, teachers, presbyters, bishops or overseers. Peter and John call themselves elders. The first councils of christians were called presbyteria, councils of elders.

In the modern presbyterian churches, elders are officers who, with the pastors or ministers and deacons, compose the consistories or kirk-sessions, with authority to inspect and regulate matters of religion and discipline.

In the first churches of New England, the pastors or ministers were called elders or teaching elders.

ELD'ER, noun A tree or genus of trees, the Sambucus, of several species. The common elder of America bears blackberries. Some species bear red berries. The stem and branches contain a soft pith.