Definition of alderman in English:



  • 1A co-opted member of an English county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.

    • ‘Only last week he turned down the honour of being made an alderman of the city.’
    • ‘He became involved in politics in the mid-1950s, initially as an alderman on the London County Council.’
    • ‘In 1911 he was elected a Birmingham Councillor, becoming an alderman in 1914 and, in 1915, Lord Mayor of Birmingham.’
    • ‘A self-made man, he started life in a small cottage in Skipton before going on to serve as a councillor, alderman and then Lord Mayor of Bradford.’
    • ‘Mr Matson was elected as an alderman by 54 votes to 13 in the first stage of a two-stage process.’
    1. 1.1Australian, North American An elected member of a city council.
      • ‘Once the city has divested itself of all these cumbersome services and possessions, our city aldermen will have just one more task to complete.’
      • ‘Similar concerns have been echoed by several city aldermen.’
      • ‘Council CEO Rex Mooney said aldermen had been briefed on the matter at a special meeting on Friday.’
      • ‘The city's aldermen, responding to the violent, racist opposition of Chicago whites to integration, blocked the CHA's proposed sites on vacant land in outlying white areas.’
      • ‘A city alderman performed the ceremony, but it was not officially registered as at present, in Holland, single person marriages are not legal.’
      • ‘He was elected an alderman of Limerick City Council in the 1999 local elections when he topped the poll with over 900 votes in Ward 3.’
      • ‘That group, under the auspices of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Campaign, then approached Don Richards, a sympathetic alderman on the Milwaukee City Council, about sponsoring a resolution supporting the boycott.’
      • ‘The launch was chaired by Brisbane City Council Labor alderman David Hinchliffe.’
      • ‘Neither city aldermen Dale Hodges nor Bob Hawkesworth, who both sit on the board of directors of Enmax, returned phone calls to explain how the City and Enmax agreed to these rates.’
      • ‘A Launceston City Council alderman yesterday welcomed a move by Mayor Janie Dickenson to stop taking her son to council meetings.’
      • ‘Irish dock laborers rubbed shoulders with the aldermen they helped elect in these dimly lit and male-dominated spaces.’
      • ‘A group of neighborhood residents contacted Rush, then the neighborhood's City Council alderman, about saving the armory.’
      • ‘Municipal legislatures appeared especially prone to corruption, and consequently reformers proposed a shift in authority from the board of aldermen or city council to the mayor.’
      • ‘It's a mixed answer and if aldermen have been elected, then at times they have to make decisions.’
      • ‘City aldermen believed that these new industries would be less likely to complain of pollution damaging their property than private individuals.’
      • ‘Rich Millspaugh, Opelousas city attorney, said he did not see that any constitutional issues were involved since the decision resulted from a vote on December 8 by city aldermen.’
      • ‘Volunteers would be trained as campaign managers and canvassers, and leaders would be groomed for campaigns for local office - alderman, city council, state rep - and campaign on credit reform.’
      • ‘Since the mid-'90s, the Daley administration has handed each of the city's 50 aldermen a chunk of money, now up to $1.2 million a year, to use on street and sidewalk repairs of their choice.’
      • ‘Government employees included circuit court clerks, a land office registrar, U.S. Rangers, marshals, commissioners, and a city alderman.’
      • ‘Hobart City aldermen have pushed for an increase in allowances for councillors for some time.’


Old English aldormann (originally in the general sense ‘a man of high rank’), from aldor, ealdor ‘chief, patriarch’ (from ald ‘old’) + man. Later the sense ‘warden of a guild’ arose; then, as the guilds became identified with the ruling municipal body, ‘local magistrate, municipal officer’.