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she is 20 years my junior/senior

Discussion in 'English Only' started by libre_pensador, May 2, 2007.

  1. libre_pensador Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello,

    What does it mean when someone says, "she is 20 years my junior/senior." Is there a difference in how these two words are used? Any insight is appreciated! :)
     
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    If you are 40 and she is 20 years your junior, she is 20 years old. If you are 40 and she is 20 years your senior, she is 60 years old. "Junior" means younger and "senior" means older.
     
  3. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Taipei
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Hi, I think it isn't used in dialogue very often, is it? My dictionary lists it used in written.
     
  4. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    Not many people say it. They usually say "younger" or "older."
     
  5. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Taipei
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Thanks.:)
     
  6. Harry Batt

    Harry Batt Senior Member

    Minneapolis
    USA English
    In the Midwest AE it is the polite way of expressing age as a disparity if youi prefer not to give an age figure. Instead of saying she is 64 if you say my wife is 5 years my junior whoever asked your wife's age is subtley told "it is none of your business."
     
  7. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I wondered whether somebody "of a certain age" was going to jump in here, Harry.:) As it happens, this is a phrase I hear fairly often (admittedly usually in the "over 50 set").

    Accordingly, to answer your question, Kenny, I would suggest that the phrase is used more often in conversation than in writing although I'd hate to impugn the integrity of your dictionary. I just can't remember the last time I saw it in writing (until this thread) but I do hear it spoken in conversation.
     
  8. kenny4528

    kenny4528 Senior Member

    Taipei
    Mandarin, Taiwan
    Hi, thanks for your clarification.:)
    I do believe what you say more than what the dictionary defines. After all, dictionary is just a reference material.
     
  9. Harry Batt

    Harry Batt Senior Member

    Minneapolis
    USA English
    Kenny, you have touched on another usage for junior/senior.I have heard men who would say that my wife is 25 years my junior for the purpose of boasting that he has a very young wife. I've never heard it with the shoe on the other foot, ie., "Well to tell you the truth my wife is 25 years my senior."
     
  10. libre_pensador Senior Member

    Spanish
    Thank you for explaining!
     
  11. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    "A trophy wife should be at least 20 years your junior to make the right impression. Twenty five years your junior and massive implants--even better".

    I have heard "my junior" used in speech.
     
  12. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Length of service in a position is referred to as seniority, and the terms senior and junior are often used in relation to work.

    In the United States Senate, there are two senators from each state, with the longer-serving senator being the senior senator from that state, and the newer senator being the junior senator:

    Hillary Clinton is the junior senator from New York; the senior senator from New York is Chuck Schumer.

    One might also refer to our most senior teachers, or to junior staff members, based on how long they had been employed. It would also be typical to speak of a co-worker who was your junior in the position, or who was senior to you in length of service to the company.
     

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