a. The length of time that a person or thing has existed: a man 23 years of age; wanted to know the age of the house.
b. The time of life when a person becomes qualified to assume certain civil and personal rights and responsibilities, usually at 18 or 21 years; legal age: under age; of age.
c. One of the stages of life: the age of adolescence; at an awkward age.
d. The state of being old; old age: hair white with age.
2. often Age
a. A period of time marked by a distinctive characteristic, achievement, or figure: the Stone Age; the computer age; the Elizabethan Age.
b. A period in the history of the earth, usually shorter than an epoch: the Ice Age.
a. The period of history during which a person lives: a product of his age.
b. A generation: ages yet unborn.
4. ages Informal An extended period of time: left ages ago.
v. aged, ag·ing, ag·es
1. To cause to become old or to show the signs of becoming old: The stress of the office visibly aged the president.
2. To cause to mature or ripen under controlled conditions: aging wine.
3. To change (the characteristics of a device) through use, especially to stabilize (an electronic device).
1. To become old or show signs of becoming old: Who doesn't want to age gracefully?
2. To develop a certain quality of ripeness; become mature: cheese aging at room temperature.
age out InformalIdiom:
To reach an age, 18 or 21 years, for example, at which one is no longer eligible for certain special services, such as education or protection, from the state.
come of age
To reach maturity.
[Middle English, from Old French aage, from Vulgar Latin *aetāticum, from Latin aetās, aetāt-, age; see aiw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.