Age before beauty


      • prioritize based on age or seniority
        To give respect or preference to someone older or more senior in a group or situation

      • acknowledge the passing of time
        To comment on the fact that someone has aged or aged gracefully

    Examples of Age before beauty

    • In the job interview, the candidate was asked to prioritize tasks. She responded, "I believe age before beauty is the best approach here. I'd like to tackle the more pressing issues first, and then move on to the less urgent tasks."

      The candidate used the idiom "age before beauty" to mean that she wanted to focus on the more important or urgent matters first, rather than starting with the less critical tasks. This expression is commonly used to suggest that practicality and functionality should take precedence over aesthetics or appearance.


    The idiom "age before beauty" is typically used in a humorous or sarcastic manner to acknowledge the concept of age and seniority in a situation. It can either be used to show respect for someone older or to make a joke about someone's age.

    In the first meaning, the intention is to prioritize based on age or seniority. This can be seen in situations such as choosing a leader or giving someone a seat based on their age or experience. It is a way of showing respect and acknowledging the wisdom and experience that comes with age.

    The second meaning focuses on the passing of time and the idea of getting older. It can be used to make a comment on someone's appearance or to joke about the fact that they are getting older. It can also be used to compliment someone on aging gracefully.

    Origin of "Age before beauty"

    The origin of this idiom is not clear, but it is believed to have originated in the 19th century. It is often attributed to the British, who were known for their emphasis on social hierarchy and respect for seniors. It may have also been influenced by the phrase "age before rank," which was used in the British military to show respect for senior officers.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom may have originated from a Scottish saying, "old age before cold age," which was used to remind people to put on their winter clothes before going outside.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom has become a common phrase in English and is used in various situations to acknowledge the importance of age and seniority. It can also be used in a lighthearted manner to tease someone about their age.