Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This in turn implies or in fact means that the person is over the retirement age, which of course varies according to country. Synonyms include pensioner in UK English and retiree and senior in US English.
Some dictionaries describe widespread usage of "senior citizen" already for people over the age of 65, which is not a common retirement age. "Senior citizen" is replacing the term old-age pensioner traditionally used in UK English.
When defined in an official context, "senior citizen" is often used for legal or policy-related reasons in determining who is eligible for certain benefits available to the age group.
It is used in general usage instead of traditional terms such as "old person", "old-age pensioner", or "elderly" as a courtesy and to signify continuing relevance of and respect for this population group as "citizens" of society, of "senior" rank.
The term was apparently coined in 1938 during a political campaign.
It has come into widespread use in recent decades in legislation, commerce, and common speech.
Especially in less formal contexts, it is often abbreviated as "senior(s)", which is also used as an adjective.
In commerce, businesses often offer "senior discounts", sometimes with a special "senior discount card".