old man

See also: Old Man, oldman, Oldman, and old-man


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old man (countable and uncountable, plural old men)

  1. An elderly man.
    Synonyms: codger; see also Thesaurus:old man
    Antonym: old lady
  2. (slang) One's father.
    Synonyms: dad, pa; see also Thesaurus:father
    Antonym: old lady
    He smacked me around some. Didn't everybody's old man?
    • 2002 February, Don Spears, Playing for Keeps[1], Los Angeles: Milligan Books, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 183:
      "How'd your in-laws feel about you marryin' your wife? Maybe you could pass the paper bag and the comb test, but your old man had dark skin, kinky hair, and he was a dyed-in-the-wool baptist from out in the sticks."
  3. (slang) A husband, or male significant other, irrespective of age.
    Synonym: hubby
    Antonym: old lady
    • 1968, Joan Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, in Slouching Towards Bethlehem:
      [] Now if that thing is balling—and your old lady or your old man is off somewhere flashing and doesn't want to be touched—well, you get put down on acid, you can be on a bummer for months.”
  4. (slang) One's male employer, irrespective of age.
    Synonyms: boss, governor
  5. (slang, military) A unit's commanding officer, or the commander of a naval vessel, irrespective of age.
  6. (UK, dated) Term of address for a male friend, irrespective of age.
    Synonyms: old bean, old chap
    • 1934, P. G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves:
      “Don't mention it, old man,” I responded courteously.
    • 1958, H. E. Bates, The Darling Buds of May:
      'Coming up, coming up, coming up,' Pop said. 'There you are, Charley, old man. Larkin Special. Don't ask what's in it. Don't stare at it. Don't think. Just drink it down. In ten minutes you'll feel perfick again.'
  7. (uncountable, herbs) Synonym of southernwood
  8. (Christianity) The state of human nature without the spiritual transformation brought about by redemption through Jesus Christ.
    • 1906 [November 1890], Richard Acland Armstrong, “What must I do to be saved?”, in George Gilbert Armstrong, editor, Richard Acland Armstrong: A Memoir, Green, page 155:
      A new light has entered into the life and transformed it wonderfully, the soul has been born again, the old man has been put off, the new man which is akin to Jesus Christ has been put on.
  9. (Australia) Used attributively to denote something of exceptional size, strength, age etc. [from 19th c.]
    • 2002, Alex Miller, Journey to the Stone Country, Allen & Unwin, published 2003, page 177:
      ‘You watch out for them old man brown snakes in here. I seen a shed skin back there in the hall.’

Usage notesEdit

Except for the term of address for a friend, to use the phrase to the face of one's father, employer, etc. would be considered disrespectful or insubordinate.


See alsoEdit