Definition of alderman in US English:


nounPlural aldermen

North American, Australian
  • 1An elected member of a municipal council.

    1. 1.1 (in England before 1974) a member of a county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.
    2. 1.2 (in Anglo-Saxon England) a noble serving the king as a chief officer in a district or shire.


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’.