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Older and fonder

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 22, 2008 at 18:43

In Reply to: Older and fonder posted by Catherine on October 21, 2008 at 20:43:

: My great aunt used to say "older and fonder", meaning older and more foolish. Does anyone know the origins of this phrase?

It isn't a standard phrase (the three words only get 13 Google hits, many of them part of a longer clause). Perhaps it was a saying of your great-aunt's family, or the neighbourhood where she was brought up. "Fond" used to mean "infatuated; foolishly credulous". Shakespeare makes King Lear use it in this sense: "I am a very foolish fond old man". It only later came to mean "having affectionate feelings" with no criticism implied. (The word "dote" in "to dote on someone" and "in one's dotage" has exactly the same pair of meanings.)