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English Idioms: Age and Aging

Idioms of Age and Aging

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
- Betty Friedan, Activist

I , like Betty Friedan and many others, can see the positive side of the aging process - the many benefits, including experience, knowledge and strength, that you gain as you mature and get older. Unfortunately, however, the English language is not always kind when referring to age or the aging process. Here is a (predominantly negative!) list of English idioms that all pertain to age:

Act your age!
This is a phrase that you use to tell someone to act in way that is appropriate for his or her age.
Example: When Grandpa brought home his new red sports car, Grandma shouted act your age!so loud that that the house shook .

2. A senior moment
A senior moment
is a humorous expression that refers to a moment of forgetfulness or confusion.
Example: When it was my turn to speak, I forgot what I wanted to say. What perfect timing for a senior moment!

no spring chicken
Someone who is no spring chicken is not young anymore.
Example: I don’t know exactly how old Fred is, but one thing is for sure - he is no spring chicken.

4. not as young as one used to be
This expression refers, quite simply, to getting old and not being the way you once were.
Example: Give me a little more time, Walter. I’m not as young as I used to be.

5. old battle-axe
The expression old battle-axe is an impolite term for a bossy old woman.
Example: The old battle-axe was an impatient woman who never had a good word to say about anyone.

old geezer
An old geezer is an impolite term for an old man.
Example: The old geezer was very rude to the teenagers.

old maid
old maid is an impolite term for a woman who has never gotten married.
Example: Mrs. McLonely lives in that old house on the corner. She is an old maid.

over the hill
If you are over the hill, you are too old to do something.
Example: Listen, son, I might be 62 but I am not over the hill yet!

9. ripe old age
The English idiom ripe old age refers to a very old age.
Example: Grandma Georgina lived to a ripe old age of 99.

10. There is no fool like an old fool.
Older people are supposed to be wiser than young people. The proverb there is no fool like an old fool, therefore, maintains that it is worse when an old person is foolish than when a young person is foolish.
Example: When Mariah watched her husband bungee jump from a bridge on his 77th birthday, she said there is no fool like an old fool.

The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be
This expression comes from an old folk song entitled The Old Gray Mare. While the song is supposedly about an old gray horse, it is also humorously used in reference to older women who simply are not the same as they used to be.
Example: Muriel said that she can’t play tennis any more. The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

to be as old as the hills
If someone or something is as
old as the hills, he, she or it has been around a long time.
Example: Old Smith has been driving that run-down car for 28 years. Both of them are as old as the hills.

to be of a certain age
When someone is of a certain age, he or she is no longer young.
Example: When you are of a certain age, you don’t want to travel around the world anymore. Or am I wrong about that?

to be on the wrong side of 30 / 40 etc...
If you are on the wrong side or 30, you are older than 30 years old.
Example: I never thought that I would be on the wrong side of 40. I thought that I would be young forever!

15. to be past one’s prime
When someone’s best days are behind him, he is past his prime.
Example: Rinaldo is still an excellent soccer player; but, obviously, at the age of 66, he is past his prime.

you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
This old saying states that it is difficult to change a person who has been doing things his way for a long time.
Example: Grandpa needs a new phone but would not look at an iPhone. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

to be young at heart
When someone is young at heart, he or she feels young inside.
Example: Roy’s Grandfather just turned 88, but he feels young at heart.

Do you have more English idioms to add to this list?

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