Older lady

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

Is it correct/natural to (in everyday conversation) talk about a woman from around 40 years old to 60 years as "older lady"?

The examples I made:

I don't want her to marry my 19-year-old son. She is an older lady. He should date someone his age.
Well, my best friend is an older lady, but she's in pretty good shape.

Thank you in advance!
  • Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    For me, 'older lady' is OK but might sound like like an OAP (i.e. a 'senior citizen', for Americans). I would say 'older woman'.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A very polite child might call his mother's friend a "lady", but we usually talk about "women": an "older woman", a "middle-aged woman".


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    And I would probably say, "She was a woman of a certain age."

    This age is mutable. When I first heard the phrase (probably in the 1960s) it meant a woman in her 40s.

    Nowadays I would say that the same phrase means a woman in her 50s. I will check on line to see if there is any clarification.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'll go out on a limb and say that it seems to me in this context, an older woman is one significantly older than the son, without specifying an age.

    My neighbor, who is now 86 years old, lost his first wife and remarried about 12 years ago to a woman his own age. (74 at the time). I don't think anybody would say that he was "marrying an older woman." ;)


    Senior Member
    English UK
    OAP is a Brit-speak abbreviation for Old Age Pensioner - someone who receives a state pension for having reached *an advanced age:cool:


    * it used to be 60 for women, 65 for men, but they're gradually pushing it back and back....


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Well, the "classic" US retirement age is, or has been, 65, but it will soon be raised, probably to 70. Most people I've known have been active into their 70s and 80s. So I would hardly call 50 or 60 elderly.


    Senior Member
    American English
    I would refrain from using "older" in the first context because it begs the question "older than what?" In the example given, I doubt the speaker would be thrilled even if the woman in question was 29-35, older than a 19-year old male, but not "old(er)" in the sense of middle-aged plus.

    How about something more evocative of why the woman is age-inappropriate in the speaker's opinion:

    She's twice his age!
    She has children his age!
    He should be looking for the future mother of my grandchildren, not a sugar mama!

    For the second, it would be better to state the age bracket, as many people are staying fit and well-kept until later ages and people have different definitions of "old":

    Christie Brinkley is past 60, but she's in amazing shape! She looks 15 years younger!


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If I were asked, I would use negatives.

    "She was no longer a perky teenager, but certainly not a doddering old maid either. She was comfortably in between and still quite attractive to the executive-type bachelor."
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