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2 Vote

So I noticed that mayor can mean older in some contexts (Usually meaning "senior" or "more senior" with regards to people) but can it every apply to objects or is vieja/viejo always used for those?

Also is saying "hombre mayor" more polite or correct than "hombre viejo"?

  • Posted Nov 6, 2013
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  • Welcome to the forum! - rac1 Nov 6, 2013 flag

6 Answers

2 Vote

I wouldn't ever use "viejo" in polite company or to someone's face. Anciano is definitely more polite, but in Latin America (Guatemala and Ecuador), I've heard mayor used much more frequently. It seems that anciano is only used to refer to the oldest people (70 or 75+?) whereas mayor can be used with anyone older than 55 or so (depending on context.)

2 Vote

In mexico you can use Viejo/a to talk to your conyuge

1 Vote

I am just beginning with spanish, but it seems to me that "mayor" is more like "older than" so like mi hermano mayor, (my older brother) and "viejo/a" more like "older" as in senior. I hope that helps.

1 Vote

I don't know about "mayor" vs "viejo", but my Spanish teacher (from Spain) told me that's it's rude to refer to elderly as "viejo".

Apparently it's more polite to call them "anciano".

1 Vote

In Mexico: Un hombre/un señor grande.

0 Vote

Thanks. I think it answers the first part pretty well.

I'm guessing based on what I've read and that information that "hombre mayor" is close to older man or identifying them as a senior. I'm not positive but it sounds like calling someone an "hombre viejo" might be the same as calling someone an old man (Which would be rude in English a lot of the time but I'm not 100% about Spanish). Might just be the context that makes the difference.

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