1. A member of the municipal legislative body in a town or city in many jurisdictions.
2. A member of the higher branch of the municipal or borough council in England and Ireland before 1974.
a. A noble of high rank or authority in Anglo-Saxon England.
b. The chief officer of a shire in Anglo-Saxon England.
[Middle English, a person of high rank, from Old English ealdorman : ealdor, elder, chief (from eald, old; see al-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + man, man; see MAN.]
alder·man·cy (-sē) n.
al′der·manic (-mănĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.