Age is a universal experience that we all share as we progress through life. It is a natural process that brings about changes in our physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities.
As such, it has become a popular subject of idiomatic expressions in many languages, offering a creative and insightful way of describing a wide range of human experiences related to aging.
These age idioms reflect the various attitudes and beliefs of different cultures towards aging, from respect for elders to the fear of growing old.
In this post, we will explore some of the most intriguing and widely used age idioms, examining their meanings and origins, and discovering the valuable insights they offer.
29 Age Idioms (Definition & Examples)
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- Act (one’s) Age
- A Grand Old Age
- A Coon’s Age
- At The Ripe Old Age
- Awkward Age
- To Come Of Age
- In This Day And Age
- To Feel One’s Age
- Golden Age
- At The Tender Age Of
- To Be Pushing (A Particular) Age
- On The Wrong Side Of An Age
- To Look (One’s) Age
- To Be Over The Hill
- Put Years On Someone
- To Be Young At Heart
- To Not Be Born Yesterday
- Getting On In Years
- Leave The Nest
- Empty Nester
- Long In The Tooth
- To Be No Spring Chicken
- To Rob The Cradle
- To Have A Senior Moment
- To Be Wise Beyond One’s Years
- To Be Past (Your/Its) Prime
- An Old Head On Young Shoulders
- Young Blood
- To Be Underage
Act (one’s) Age
If someone tells you that to act your age, it means you need to behave in accordance with one’s maturity level. It is usually said to someone who is acting younger than they really are.
“Will you act your age? You are acting like a child.”
A Grand Old Age
A grand old age simply means someone is very old.
“He died at the grand old age of 99.”
A Coon’s Age
A long time ago, it was believed that raccoons lived for a long time. Another way to refer to a raccoon is to call them a coon. If you hear the expression a coon’s age, it refers to a long period of time.
“I haven’t been to New York in a coon’s age.”
At The Ripe Old Age
When fruit is ready to eat we say that it is ripe. It is fully developed. It is mature. With that thought in mind, if you hear the expression at the ripe old age, it simply refers to an old age. In other words, being old. Usually used to describe someone who has lived a healthy life.
“She passed away at the ripe old age of 95.”
We use the expression awkward age to refer to those early teenage years. These years are usually characterized by shyness and awkwardness.
“Sorry, she is just at that awkward age, but she will soon grow out of it.”
To Come Of Age
Another popular age idiom is to come of age. It means to reach maturity. To become an adult.
“He will inherit his father’s house when he comes of age.”
In This Day And Age
If someone says in this day and age, they are referring to the present time period. In other words, they are talking about what is going on right now.
“When I was a child, we used to be able to leave the doors unlocked, but in this day and age we can’t do that.
To Feel One’s Age
You might hear someone say that they are feeling their age. It means that they are realizing that they are getting older. They are starting to feel the negative effects of aging. Perhaps they have more health problems or they are less energetic.
“I am so sore from playing football last night. I am definitely starting to feel my age.”
The golden age simply refers to a period of time when something or someone was very successful. A period in the past when things were at their best.
“My grandma grew up in the golden age of good American Literature.”
At The Tender Age Of
Using the word tender hear gives the idea of something that is not fully developed. With that in mind, when you hear someone use the expression at the tender age of…, they are expressing that that person is still young. At a young age.
“She was able to play the piano at the tender age of 6 years old.”
To Be Pushing (A Particular) Age
When a person is close to a certain age, especially when they are older, we say that they are pushing some age. It means they are approaching that year.
“Wow, Greg looks old, he’s got to be pushing 50 now.”
On The Wrong Side Of An Age
No one wants to get older right? We want to stay young. In order to express that idea, you might hear someone say that they are on the wrong side of (a certain age). It means that they are older than that particular age.
“Now that I am on the wrong side of 30, I can’t no longer play football like I used to.”
To Look (One’s) Age
Another popular age idiom that we hear quite often is to look one’s age. It means to have the appearance of the age that you are.
“He is starting to look his age.”
To Be Over The Hill
To be over the hill is used to refer to someone who is no longer young. Not able to do things as before. They are past the peak in their life or career. Usually used in a funny way.
“How do you feel now that you are 50 years old? I feel like I am officially over the hill.”
Put Years On Someone
To put years on someone is an expression we use to say that something or someone has caused a person to feel or look older.
“All that stress has put years on him.”
To Be Young At Heart
If someone tells you that you are young at heart. It is a compliment. They are saying that you are acting or behaving younger than one’s age. Usually used in a positive sense.
“Even though grandpa is older now, he still is young at heart.”
To Not Be Born Yesterday
Another very popular age idiom that you might hear is, “I wasn’t born yesterday”. It means not be easily deceived. To not be naive.
“He can’t fool me. You know, I wasn’t born yesterday.”
Getting On In Years
When a person is getting older, we say that they are getting on in years.
“Even though grandpa is getting on in years, he doesn’t want to slow down. He always wants to be doing something.”
Leave The Nest
Just like a baby bird has to leave its nest, we eventually have to leave our parent’s house. With that thought in mind, we say that one has to leave the nest. It means moving out of one’s parent’s house for the first time.
“He finally left the nest at 25 years old.”
An empty nester is a simple expression used to describe a parent whose children have left the house.
“It was difficult for her to be an empty nester because she misses seeing her children every day.“
Long In The Tooth
Long in the tooth sounds like a funny age idiom. It comes from the idea that looking at an animal’s teeth gives one an idea of its age. This is because as animals age, their gums begin to recede making their teeth look longer. With that in mind, this expression simply means to be old. Sometimes it can mean being too old to do something.
“He is a little long in the tooth to be out on the dance floor don’t you think?”
To Be No Spring Chicken
Another funny expression about aging is to be no spring chicken. It means to no longer be young.
“I’m no spring chicken, but I can beat you in football any day.”
To Rob The Cradle
When someone is in a romantic relationship with someone that is much younger than you are, we say that they are robbing the cradle.
“He is 35 years old and yet he is dating a 25-year-old. Talk about robbing the cradle.”
To Have A Senior Moment
I love the next idiom. It cracks me up. When someone forgets something, typically common in older people, we say that they are having a senior moment. It can also refer to when one acts strangely or foolishly due to one’s age.
“I must be having a senior moment because I can not remember where I put my car keys.”
To Be Wise Beyond (One’s) Years
If someone says that you are wise beyond your years. It is a huge compliment. They are saying that you are smarter than your age.
Example: Even though he is young, he has demonstrated to be wise beyond his years.
To Be Past (Your/Its) Prime
To be past one’s prime means to be after the best or most successful years of life.
“He showed that he can still play basketball, but he is definitely past his prime.”
An Old Head On Young Shoulders
Just stop for a moment and try to imagine the next age idiom, to be an old head on young shoulders. It sounds kind of funny, but if you imagine it, it makes sense. It refers to a young person (old head) who acts and speaks like an older person.
“I love talking to Fernando, he is an old head on young shoulders. He is so mature for his age.”
Normally, we don’t say that a person has old blood or young blood. However, young blood is a funny way to refer to a young person. It can also refer to new members of a group or organization. In this case, you might hear the expression new blood or fresh blood. It means that because they are new, they have fresh new ideas to contribute.
“We need to get some young blood on our team.”
To Be Underage
To be underage is an expression you might hear at a restaurant. It means being too young to participate in something legally. Oftentimes it is used in connection with drinking.
“There need to be better laws to combat underage drinking.”
In conclusion, age idioms provide a unique and creative way of expressing the universal experience of aging and the diverse attitudes and beliefs toward it.
Through these idiomatic expressions, we gain a deeper understanding of the different cultures and traditions that have shaped our perceptions of aging.
Hence we are reminded of the valuable lessons and insights that come with age, such as wisdom, experience, and resilience.
By understanding and appreciating these age idioms, we not only gain a richer understanding of the human experience but also gain a valuable tool for expressing ourselves and connecting with others in a more meaningful way.
There you have it! 29 Age Idioms. Which one is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.