elder

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elders and betters

The people who are older than one and thus deserve respect. Because I'm supposed to respect my elders and betters, Mom was pretty mad when she heard that I'd sassed Grandma.
See also: and, better, elder

elder statesman

1. One who is experienced and successful in a particular area. Because Michael's the elder statesman in our department, everyone always goes to him with questions.
2. One who is no longer working in a particular job but is still considered a valuable resource. Even though he's been retired for a year, Joe is still the elder statesman that gives us all feedback on our manuscripts.
See also: elder, statesman

an ˌelder ˈstatesman


1 a person who has had an important job in government, business, etc. and who, though he/she may have retired (= stopped work), is still likely to be asked for his/her opinion and advice
2 any experienced and respected person whose advice or work is valued: He is regarded as TV’s elder statesman, having worked for the giant CBS network for nearly twenty years.
See also: elder, statesman

your ˌelders and ˈbetters

people who are older and wiser than you and whom you should respect: You may not want to go, but your elders and betters think you should.
See also: and, better, elder
References in classic literature ?
One day, in the sick chamber of Father Ephraim, who had been forty years the presiding elder over the Shaker settlement at Goshen, there was an assemblage of several of the chief men of the sect.
Accordingly, each elder looked at the two candidates with a most scrutinizing gaze.
asked young Mac, waked out of a brown study by the laughter, in which the elders joined.
Uncle Mac had brought Fun See to dinner, and it was a mercy he did, for the elder lads found a vent for their merriment in joking the young Chinaman on his improved appearance.
Several of the audience, not being much interested in the missionary's narrative, here left the car; but Elder Hitch, continuing his lecture, related how Smith, junior, with his father, two brothers, and a few disciples, founded the church of the "Latter Day Saints," which, adopted not only in America, but in England, Norway and Sweden, and Germany, counts many artisans, as well as men engaged in the liberal professions, among its members; how a colony was established in Ohio, a temple erected there at a cost of two hundred thousand dollars, and a town built at Kirkland; how Smith became an enterprising banker, and received from a simple mummy showman a papyrus scroll written by Abraham and several famous Egyptians.
Passepartout was now the only person left in the car, and the Elder, looking him full in the face, reminded him that, two years after the assassination of Joseph Smith, the inspired prophet, Brigham Young, his successor, left Nauvoo for the banks of the Great Salt Lake, where, in the midst of that fertile region, directly on the route of the emigrants who crossed Utah on their way to California, the new colony, thanks to the polygamy practised by the Mormons, had flourished beyond expectations.
And there is an Elder Tree standing beside it; and the cock is scraping away the earth for the hens, look, how he struts
And during their whole flight the Elder Tree smelt so sweet and odorous; he remarked the roses and the fresh beeches, but the Elder Tree had a more wondrous fragrance, for its flowers hung on the breast of the little maiden; and there, too, did he often lay his head during the flight.
There was no telling what the outcome would have been, for the third wolf joined the elder, and together, old leader and young leader, they attacked the ambitious three-year-old and proceeded to destroy him.
But the elder leader was wise, very wise, in love even as in battle.
Weller the elder gave vent to an extraordinary sound, which, being neither a groan, nor a grunt, nor a gasp, nor a growl, seemed to partake in some degree of the character of all four.
For the reason that my hand had this effect (I assume), I had sat by the side of the bed for half an hour, with the two brothers looking on, before the elder said:
As I turned my eyes to the elder brother, I saw him looking down at this handsome boy whose life was ebbing out, as if he were a wounded bird, or hare, or rabbit; not at all as if he were a fellow-creature.
Just as the two elder ladies had finished their survey of the family prospects, and Lady Otway was nervously anticipating some general statement as to life and death from her sister-in-law, Cassandra burst into the room with the news that the carriage was at the door.
Vanstone the elder had destroyed in my presence had not been, so far as I know, replaced by another.