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  1. moonlike's Avatar
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    #1

    Octogenarian

    Hi again
    Could you help me with this question?
    We have "octogenarian" in English. I wonder if we can make other words like "heptogenarian, hexogenaraian etc? If not, how can we express it? Just simply saying he's in his 70s or he is seventyish? or he is in his early/mid/late seventies?
    I mean we have such a word just for people who are between 80 to 89?
    Thanks a bunch

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Octogenarian

    90-99 years of age = nonagenarian
    70-79 years of age = septuagenarian
    60-69 = sexagenarian
    50-59 = pentagenarian

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Octogenarian

    In my personal experience, septuagenarian (which I would never have been able to spell on my own!) is as frequent as octogenarian, but the penta- one is quite rarely used, and the other two fall in-between.

    I've never learned how to use those corpus searches, so perhaps someone smarter than I am can look that up to confirm my gut feeling.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. moonlike's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Octogenarian

    Thank you emsr2d2 ans Barb.

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    #5

    Re: Octogenarian

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    90-99 years of age = nonagenarian
    70-79 years of age = septuagenarian
    60-69 = sexagenarian
    50-59 = pentagenarian
    Interesting, I've never heard the word "pentagenarian" and it looks like an odd one out to me here. It looks like it's used sometimes, but it's not in the dictionaries I've tried. The word they have is "quinquagenarian". Not that I've ever heard it, but it does make sense. All of the prefixes "nona-", "octo-", "septua-" and "sexa-" come from Latin, and it seems strange to use a Greek prefix for another word on the list. This is also the problem with the OP's suggestions. "Hexa-" and "hepta-" are both Greek prefixes. (Although the mistake is understandable, since the inferrence was based on "octogenarian", and "octo-" can well be mistaken for a Greek prefix. I believe where Greek numeral prefixes are customary, "octa-" is used.)

    For the COCA search:

    nonagenarian/nonagenarians - 45
    octogenarian/octogenarians - 227
    septuagenarian/septuagenarians - 95
    sexagenarian/sexagenarians - 15
    quinquagenarian/quinquagenarians - 0
    pentagenarian/pentagenarians - 0

    "Quinquagenarian" appears in COHA twice, both times in the 1960s. "Pentagenarian" doesn't appear in any corpus.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 09-Apr-2012 at 03:11.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Octogenarian

    I think centenarian should be added.
    Also, maybe supercentenarian, though I don't like this name. Maybe undecimogenarian would be better.
    Supercentenarian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Octogenarian

    Some of these sound like species that would have been encountered on the voyages of the starship Enterprise...
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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