An Etymological Dictionary of the German Language/Annotated/alt

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alt, adjective, from the equivalent Middle High German and Old High German alt, adjective ‘old’; the corresponding Old Saxon ald, Anglo-Saxon eald, English old, have the same meaning; Gothic alþeis (instead of the expected form *alda-), ‘old.’ The West Teutonic form al-da- is an old tó- participle (Latin al-tus, ‘high’), like other Modern High German adjectives (see under falt), and belongs to Gothic alan, ‘to grow up,’ Old Icelandic ala, ‘to bring forth’ (primitively related to Latin alo. Old Irish alim, ‘I nourish’), therefore literally ‘grown up.’ Hence perhaps it was used originally and chiefly in reckoning age, &c. (compare Latin X annos natus), but afterwards it was also used at an early period in an absolute sense, ‘vetus.’ See Alter, Eltern.