Definition of alderman in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The launch was chaired by Brisbane City Council Labor alderman David Hinchliffe.’
    • ‘A Launceston City Council alderman yesterday welcomed a move by Mayor Janie Dickenson to stop taking her son to council meetings.’
    • ‘City aldermen believed that these new industries would be less likely to complain of pollution damaging their property than private individuals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A group of neighborhood residents contacted Rush, then the neighborhood's City Council alderman, about saving the armory.’
    • ‘Government employees included circuit court clerks, a land office registrar, U.S. Rangers, marshals, commissioners, and a city alderman.’
    • ‘Similar concerns have been echoed by several 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.’
    • ‘A city alderman performed the ceremony, but it was not officially registered as at present, in Holland, single person marriages are not legal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once the city has divested itself of all these cumbersome services and possessions, our city aldermen will have just one more task to complete.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's a mixed answer and if aldermen have been elected, then at times they have to make decisions.’
    • ‘Hobart City aldermen have pushed for an increase in allowances for councillors for some time.’
    • ‘Council CEO Rex Mooney said aldermen had been briefed on the matter at a special meeting on Friday.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Irish dock laborers rubbed shoulders with the aldermen they helped elect in these dimly lit and male-dominated spaces.’
    1. 1.1(in England before 1974) a member of a county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.
      • ‘He became involved in politics in the mid-1950s, initially as an alderman on the London County Council.’
      • ‘Mr Matson was elected as an alderman by 54 votes to 13 in the first stage of a two-stage process.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Only last week he turned down the honour of being made an alderman of the city.’
    2. 1.2(in Anglo-Saxon England) a noble serving the king as a chief officer in a district or shire.
      • ‘the same day Ethelmund, alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford; where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire.’
      • ‘There are many signs of independent folklands with lawman, thegn, thane, taler (speaker) and alderman as the leader.’
      • ‘Alderman Worr. Egbert succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom’
      • ‘In Anglo-Saxon England, ealdormen, or aldermen, were high-ranking officials of the crown who exercised judicial, administrative, or military functions.’
      • ‘The king went home, with the aldermen and the nobility.’


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 the status and method of appointment varying in different times and places.