Al"der*man (#), n.; pl. Aldermen (#). [AS. aldormon, ealdorman; ealdor an elder + man. See Elder, n.]
A senior or superior; a person of rank or dignity.
⇒ The title was applied, among the Anglo-Saxons, to princes, dukes, earls, senators, and presiding magistrates; also to archbishops and bishops, implying superior wisdom or authority. Thus Ethelstan, duke of the East-Anglians, was called Alderman of all England; and there were aldermen of cities, counties, and castles, who had jurisdiction within their respective districts.
One of a board or body of municipal officers next in order to the mayor and having a legislative function. They may, in some cases, individually exercise some magisterial and administrative functions.
© Webster 1913.