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  Dictionary Definition of elder

noun Sir Thomas, 1818--97, Australian pastoralist, businessman and benefactor, born in Scotland.
elder [1]
1. older: 'And Ned shall come, too' she added, with a consoling glance at her elder brother -- HENRY HANDEL RICHARDSON, 1917.
2. senior: an elder officer.
3. earlier: in elder times.
-- noun
4. a person who is older than oneself; one's senior: meeting with a man sufficiently her elder to encourage her to talk -- MARCUS CLARKE, 1874.
5. an aged person.
6. one of the older and more influential men of a tribe or community, often a chief or ruler: a drumming roar that is said to be the voice of the snake (but it is really the boss elder beating a hollow log with a small piece of pandanus trunk). -- W.E. HARNEY, 1947.
7. ® presbyter.
8. (in certain Protestant churches) a governing officer, often with teaching or pastoral functions.
9. (in the Mormon Church) one holding the higher or Melchizedek priesthood.
[ME; OE eldra, etc. (comparative of ald, eald OLD), c. G älter ]
-- eldership, noun