living to a ripe old age


Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
She never used to smoke but more and more she tells me she can't stand the idea of living to a ripe old age.

Survivor Chuck Palahniuk

Hi, would you please tell me if I'm sure "to a ripe old age" means she is aging, and she's not happy with that.
  • Askalon

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Well, the woman is obviously unhappy with the idea of becoming old, but that's clear from the context and has nothing to do with the phrase "a ripe old age." That just means a very old age, it doesn't really carry any negative connotations. You can say a man "lived to the ripe old age of 90," it just means that he lived to a very old age.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    A person may be unhappy about aging, but my impression is that a ripe old age has a positive cast. Ripe means 'fully developed, mature'. It doesn't bring to mind fading powers, or any of other failings that are associated with aging,