ElderSpeak: A Thesaurus or Compendium of Words Related to Old Age

ElderSpeak: A Thesaurus or Compendium of Words Related to Old Age

by James L. Reynolds MD


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There are many words relating to old age, aging, and the elderly, and this compendium of words seeks to help you understand almost two thousand of them.

Most of these words are unusual, rare, obsolete, archaic, wonderful, marvelous, arcane, and even preposterous. All of them apply to the aged, a group that makes up an increasing portion of the population-particularly in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Here are just a few of the interesting words you'll learn:

• Cenotaph: a monument erected as a memorial to a dead person or dead people buried elsewhere, especially those killed fighting a war

• Lethonomia: a tendency to forget, or inability to recall, names

• Oligoria: disinterest in former friends or hobbies

Listed alphabetically with pronunciation keys, the words are categorized under forty-eight headings. For example, in the "end-of-life" category, you'll find the word feuillemorte, which is the wan, yellow color of death. Under "retirement," you'll find ecesis, which is the acclimatization to retirement, and Opagefaengris, a prison for retired male criminals in Singen, Germany.

Boost your vocabulary, indulge in a love of language, and improve the way you communicate with seniors and medical professionals. It starts with learning ElderSpeak.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491705100
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Pages: 492
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.99(d)

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A Thesaurus or Compendium of Words Related to Old Age

By James L. Reynolds

iUniverse LLC

Copyright © 2014 James L. Reynolds, MD
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0510-0




"All want to live longer, but not grow old." —Benjamin Franklin

a dog in the manger (mayn'jer) n.phr. a person who tries to prevent somebody else from having or doing something that he or she can't have or do—a manger = a trough from which livestock eat. • That curmudgeon, q.v., who had no cell phone, was a dog in the manager when other home residents tried to use theirs. [U.K.<OF mangeoire< mangier eat<L manducare chew<mandere eat; chew, champ; devour]. See role. See mentality, mentation, behavior.

AAADD n. an initialism: age-activated attention-deficit disorder, not infrequently occurring with advancing age. It is a type of memory deficit manifested when an elder's intention to accomplish something is interrupted by something else needing more urgent attention or distracting his/her attention, then, due to the interruption, the original intention is forgotten. Such intervening interruptions, should they occur seriatim, result in nothing, or very little, being accomplished. [< analogy with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD, a true medical condition or disorder is found mainly in children]. See memory.

abasia (a-bay'zhe, -zhee-aa) n. inability to walk. [< Ga-, priv., + basis step]. adj. abasic (-zik)/abatic (a-bay'tik). Cf. astasia, astasia-abasia, qv. See standing, walking, wandering.

abderite (ab'der-rit) n. a simpleton or dimwitted person inclined to scoff, laugh at everything. [< Democritus, a 5th C. B.C. Abderite, i.e., someone from Abdera in Thrace, philosopher, noted for his theory of atoms, & called "the laughing philosopher"]. See mentality, mentation, behavior. See intelligence. See role.

abdominous (ab-dom'in-ness) adj. fat, corpulent; having a large abdomen, protuberant belly, pot belly. (Elderly men are more obese than younger men and have higher waist-to-hip ratios than women.) [< Labdomen abdomen, belly; gluttony, greed + -ous, suff.]. syn. ventricous, q.v. Cf. adipose, fubsy, lardy, pinguid, pursy. See physique, appearance.

ablepsia (ay-blep'si-e, -she) n. blindness. [< Ga-, priv., + blepo see]. syn. amaurosis, cecity, cecutiency, occecation, purblind, q.v. Cf. hemeralopsia, idiopsia, nyctalopia, q.v. See eye.

abuela (aa-boo-ayl'laa, -le), abuelo(-ayl'lo) n. grandmother, grandfather. [Sp, grandmother, grandfather]. See old woman, old man.

abulia/aboulia (a-byool'li-e) n. loss or impairment of the ability to perform voluntary actions or to make decisions; loss of will. [< Ga-, priv., + boule will]. See mentality, mentation, behavior.

abus de faiblesse (aby de febles) n.phr. exploiting frailty (of the aged). A legal term in France for elderly exploitation. [< F abus m. = abuse, misuse; error. faiblesse f. = weakness, feebleness, frailty]. See intelligence. See tiredness, weakness.

acanthosis verrucosa (ay-kan-thos'siss ver-roo-kos'se) n. See senile keratosis (keratosis senilis). [acantho-, pref., denoting relationship to a spinous process, or meaning spiny or thorny,<G akantha thorn and L verrucosa, resembling a wart]. syn. = actinic keratosis, senile keratosis, q.v. See skin.

acarpous (ay-kaar'pess) adj. fruitless, sterile. [< Ga-, priv., + karpos< I-E gather (fruit)]. syn. = agennesic, anandrious, apogenous, q.v. See sex, love.

accumbent (ak-kum'bent) adj. reclining, recumbent. • The more aged she becomes the more time she spends accumbent. [< Laccumbere to take one's place at table<ac-, pref., = ad- (before c, k, & q) to, toward; near + -cumbere to lie down]. n. accumbency. See: sleep, wakefulness.

acedia (a-seed'di-e) n. apathy, boredom, sloth, listlessness, carelessness; spiritual sluggishness or indifference; a state of depression (obs.). [< Ga-, priv., + kedos care +<L & G -ia, a noun-forming suff., = a state or condition]. See mentality, mentation, behavior.

acedolagnia (e-seed"do-lag'ni-e) n. complete indifference to sex. [< Ga- priv., + kedos care + lagneia lust; coition]. adj. acedolagnic. Cf. acokoinonia, q.v. See sex, love.

acescent (e-ses'sent) adj. turning sour, rather sour (fig. & lit.); tending to turn acid. • The old dear became increasingly acescent with age. [< Lacescent-< acere be sour + -ent]. See emotion.

acherontic (ak-er-ron'tik) adj. cheerless, depressing. [< Gmythology: Acheron, one of the rivers that ran through Hades]. See emotion.

achlorophyllaceous (a-klaw"ro-fil-ay'shuss) adj. colorless. • The old roué's failed humor was as achlorophyllaceous as his complexion. [< Ga- priv., + khloros green + -phyll<phullon leaf + -aceous, -acean, suffs., resembling or related to,<L -aceus]. See color.

achrochordons (ak"ro-kor'donss) n.pl. skin tags: flesh-colored or pigmented lesions that are soft and often pedunculated—a benign skin tumor. They occur commonly on the neck, axillae, and trunk of the elderly. [G, a- priv., + chroa color + chorde cord]. See skin.

acokoinonia (ak"ko-koy-non'ni-e) n. sex without passion or desire. [< Gakon unwilling + koinonia community<koinos shared in common]. Cf. acedolagnia. See sex, love.

acolasia (a-ko-lay'zhe, zhee-e) n. morbid sexual intemperance or lust. • Such acolasia qualifies him as a "dirty old man". [< Gakolasia licentiousness]. See sex, love.

acomia (ay-kom'mi-e) n. baldness. [< Ga-, priv., + kome hair] adj. acomous. See hair.

aconuresis (ak"kon-yoo-rees'siss) n. involuntary passage of urine, urinary incontinence. [< Gakon unwilling + ouresis urination]. See genitourinary.

acopic(a-kop'pik) adj. relieving tiredness. [< Ga-, priv., + kopos fatigue]. n. acopic something that relieves tiredness. See tiredness, weakness. See therapy.

acronyx (a-kron'nikss) n. an ingrown fingernail or toenail. [acr(o)-, pref., denoting relation to an extremity, top, tip, or summit, or to an extreme—G akron, tip, extreme—+ onyx, gen. onychos, nail]. See joint, extremities, back.

acrotism (ak'kro-tizm) n. absence or imperceptibility of pulsation, pulselessness. • Acrotism confirmed the old codger's death. [< Ga-, priv., + krotos a striking, or sound made by striking]. adj. acrotic (aa-krot'tik) = 1. pertaining to absence or weakness of the pulse. (2. affecting the surface. [< Gakros extreme].) See end-of-life, death.

actinic keratosis (ak-tin'nik ker-e-tos'siss) n.phr. photo aging from chronic UV (ultraviolet) radiation: a dyskeratotic (premalignant) warty, scaly lesion occurring usually on the sun-exposed skin of face or hands in aged, light-skinned persons [< Gaktis (actin-) a ray + kerat(o)-, pref., horn + -osis, suff., condition]. syns. acanthosis verrucosa; actinic or senile elastosis, q.v.; solar keratosis; senile keratoma or wart; verruca plana senilis; and verruca senilis. See skin.

acyesis (ay-si-ees'siss) n. female sterility. [< Ga-, priv. + cyesis pregnancy]. syn. = atocia, q.v. See sex, love.

ADAM syndrome n.phr. an initialism: Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male, is associated with inadequate testicular androgen production resulting in a bioavailable testosterone level<70ng/dL (2.4nmol/L), which can be associated with loss of libido, diminished muscle mass, and muscle strength, plus diminished energy and well-being. Testosterone declines with age by about 100 ng/dL/ decade after age 50, but bioavailable (unbound) testosterone declines far more dramatically, and testosterone-binding globulin increases with age. Loss of sperm quantity and quality can occur with age. Testosterone treatment may be indicated. (Merck Manual of Geriatrics). See sex, love. See genitourinary.

adamantine (ad-e-man'teen, -tin) adj. 1. unyielding, firm. (2. like a diamond in hardness or luster.) • He tried to get her to smile, but the adamantinegrimalkin remained sour faced. [< Gadamas, adamantos; untamable; a-, priv., + daman to conquer]. See mentality, mentation, behavior.

addle (ad'del) adj. 1. muddled, unsound (addlebrained, addlepated, q.v.). (2. empty, vain. 3. {of an egg} addled, q.v.) [OE adela filth, used as adj. then verb]. addle vt. to muddle, confuse. (addle vi.{of an egg} become addled.) See addled under intelligence.

addled (ad'dled) adj. 1. muddled. (2. {of an egg} rotten, producing no chick.) See addle, adj., assimilated to pp. form. See intelligence.

addlepated (ad'del-payt'ted) adj. muddle-headed, confused. [OE adela filth, used as adj. then verb + pate (payt) n. (colloc. or joc.) 1. the top of the head. 2. the head, especially representing the seat of intellect; ME, origin unknown]. Syn. addlebrained. See intelligence.

adianoeta (aa-di"e-no-et'te) n. an expression that has an obvious meaning and an unsuspected secret one beneath. E.g., "I hear you have just published a new book; I'll waste no time in reading it." Or, re: the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair: "It blows me away." adj. adianoetic. [< Ga-, privative + dianoetikos of or pertaining to thinking]. Cf. double entendre, subintelligitur, q.v. See talk.

adipose (ad'di-poss) adj. containing fat; fatty; fat. adipose n. fat under the skin and surrounding organs; fat in the cells of adipose tissue. [< Ladiposus fatty<adip-, stem of adeps fat]. n. adiposity (ad-di-pos'i-tee) n. adiposeness. syn. fubsy, lardy, pinguid, q.v. Cf. abdominous, ventricous; pursy, q.v. See physique, appearance.

adjunct (aj'junkt) adj. a thing added; not full time; secondary and not essential. • Mr. Chips, now retired, continued as an adjunct professor at the college. [ad-, pref.,<L ad to + jungere to join]. See role.

advesperate (ad-vess'pur-ayt) vi. to draw toward evening (obs.)—used fig.: approaching the end of life. [< Lad- to, toward + vespera evening<vesper evening star]. See end-of-life & death.

aesthetics/esthetics (es-thet'tikss) pl.n.—used singularly. (1. that branch of philosophy dealing with beauty.) 2. plastics, i.e., plastic surgery, aesthetic dentistry, and, more recently, aesthetic dermatology. (Plastic surgery is that branch of surgery having to do with the repair of defects, or the results of loss of tissue by direct union of parts, grafting, transfer of tissue from one part to another, etc.) (Aesthetic physicians do facelifts, nose jobs, breast augmentation; use Botox, a peripheral nerve blocker to erase wrinkles, rugae (temporarily); inject plastic fillers such as Juvéderm® and Restylane® for wrinkle abatement, skin depressions; employ laser treatments for skin blemishes, tattoos, etc.; perform chemical peels for skin smoothing; advertise facial rejuvenation; et hoc genus omne.) • Aesthetics is a branch of medicine appealing particularly to the aged. [< Gaesthesis sensation.<G plastikos relating to molding]. adj. aesthetic/esthetic. Cf. plastics. See therapy. See physique, appearance.

aetate provectus (i-taat'tay pro-wek'tuss) adj.phr. a collation meaning of advanced age, advanced in years. [< Laetas, -atis age + provectus advanced.]. Cf. d'un certain age. See old.

afforient (af-for'ri-ent) n. & adj. a state of confusion, wandering. • The retirement home's occupants were not surprised by that particular lady's afforient behavior. [af-, pref., = ad- before f]. See mentality, mentation, behavior. See standing, walking, wandering.

agapism (aag'gw-piz-em) n. The doctrine that exalts nonsexual (brotherly) love. [< Gagape brotherly love]. See sex, love.

agathobiothik(ag"e-tho-bi'o-thik) n. the good life [< Gagatho good + bio- pref.,<G bios life +? suff. -thik?]. See retirement. See work, activity.

age (ayj) vi. show signs of advancing age; grow old; mature. [< Laetas, -atis age]. syns. become old, decline, deteriorate, develop, get old, get along (in years), grow old, grow up, mature, mellow, push, ripen, senesce, wane. See old. See old age.

aged (ayj'jed) adj. (1. of the age of.) 2. having lived long, old. [probably<F âgé. See age vi.]. adv. agedly. n. agedness. syns. advanced in years, ancient, antediluvian, decrepit, elderly, getting along or on, gray, having or with one foot in the grave, hoary, immemorial, matured, mellowed, old, old as the hills, over the hill, ripened, senescent, superannuated. Syn. sear, q.v. See old.

ageism/agism (ayj'jiz-em) n. 1. discrimination or prejudice against people of a particular age, especially of old people, and especially in employment. 2. the celebration of youth and good looks vs. the relative invisibility of older people, as seen, e.g., in advertising. • Such aversive ageism is beneath you. [var. OF aage< L aetat-, pref., period of life; coined by Robert Butler, a Pulitzer Prize winner]. adj. ageist. See old age. See mentality, mentation, behavior.

agelast (aj'je-last) n. a person who never laughs. [< F agélast, a neologism of Rabelais (C. H. Elster)<G gelao to laugh]. See mentality, mentation, behavior. See role.

agennesic (a-jen-nees'sik) adj. sterile; impotent. [< Ga- priv. + genesis production]. n. agenesia (aj"jen-ee'zhe, -zee-e) = sterility, impotency. [G, sexual impotence]. syn. = acarpous, anandrious, apogenous, q.v. See sex.

agerasia (a-je-ray'zhe, -zhee-e) n. youthful appearance in an older person, looking younger than one's age; not appearing to age. [< Geternal youth<a- priv. + geras old age]. syn. neanimorphism, q.v. ant. geromorphism, q.v. Cf. paedomorphism, q.v. See: physique, appearance. See old age.

ageing/aging in place n.phr. a collocation indicating a recent phenomenon: the preference of the elderly for remaining in their homes rather than moving to a retirement home or assisted living center. See retirement.

AGNES (ag'nes) an initialism: age gain now empathy system, an age-empathy suit. See gray tech.

agnosia (ag-no'zhe, –zhee-e) n. loss of the power to recognize the import of sensory stimuli. The varieties of agnosia correspond to the several senses and are distinguished as auditory or acoustic, visual, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile. (Other varieties of agnosia are: body-image ~ {autotopagnosia}: loss of body-image sense, finger ~: loss of ability to indicate fingers, ideational ~: loss of the spatial associations which make up the idea of an object from its component ideas, time ~: loss of comprehension of the succession and duration of events.) [G ignorance<a-, pref., priv. + gnosis knowledge]. See health& illness.

agomphious (a-gom'fi-ess) adj. toothless. [< Ga- priv. + gomphos bolt, nail-peg & socket articulation, as a tooth in the alveolar socket]. syn. edentate, q.v. See mouth, gums, & teeth.

agonistes (ag-o-niss'teez) adj. pertaining to one engaged in a struggle—this adj. is placed after the modified noun. • An apropos term for an elderly person engaged in a struggle with, e.g., osteoporosis or malignancy or Alzheimer's: Ronald Reagan agonistes. [G agonistes< agon struggle, contest. (The term refers to John Milton's "Samson Agonistes", a tragedy depicting the final phase of Sampson's life when he is blind and a captive of the Philistines.)]. n. agonist (ag'gen-ist). adj. agonistic (ag"gen-is'tik). adv. agonistically. See mentality, mentation, behavior. See role.

agrypnia (a-grip'ni-e) n. insomnia. There is a recent medical device that induces slow brain and deep-sleep waves in sleeping patients by a technique called "transcranial magnetic stimulation"; it may restore deep sleep in patients with insomnia. [G, sleeplessness<agreo to hunt after + hypnos sleep]. adj. agrypnic. syns.: See sleep & wakefulness.

agrypnocoma (a-grip"no-kom'me) n. an apathetic, lethargic state approaching coma. [< Gagrypnos sleepless + koma coma]. See sleep & wakefulness.

agrypnotic (a-grip-not'tik) adj. sleepless: marked by, or suffering from insomnia. n. that which drives sleep away. [G agrypnos sleepless + -ic]. n. agrypnode = a drug that prevents sleep, drives sleep away. See sleep & wakefulness.


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Table of Contents


Dedication, vii,
Preface, ix,
Use Of The Thesaurus, 1,
Bibliography, 13,
Alphabetical Listing of Headwords & Phrases With Their Definition, Etymology, & Categorization, 17,
Senior texting codes (STC) (Suggested, Unorthodox, and Un-attributed), 429,
Alphabetical Listing Of Foreign Headwords & Phrases With Their Definition, Etymology, & Categorization, 431,
Categorical List of Headwords & Phrases With Page Number, 445,
Index Of Headwords & Phrases, 447,
Index Of Foreign Headwords & Phrases, 473,

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