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Older and fonder

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 24, 2008 at 05:38

In Reply to: Older and fonder posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 22, 2008 at 18:43:

: : 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.)

There is a phrase, "older and wiser," that appears fairly often, while the phrase at hand means "older and unwiser," or, if you prefer, "older and less wise." Obviously getting old does not have entirely predictable consequences as to one's wisdom.