"The children in school grew up so fast. They, like their parents, went about their professional career. In a flash they became gray and grizzled, and were getting tired of life."

Is there a better expression than "gray and grizzled"? I want to express the subject's appearance getting older, their skin with more and more wrinkles, their face with increasing spots, and hair turning gray. Is there an expression or word that would vividly depict this feeling of "getting older in appearance"?

  • Try "graying" in place of "getting older in appearance."
    – Robusto
    Aug 25, 2015 at 16:00
  • 1
    Writing advice? And in a wink of an eye their taut supple skins lost their youthful glow, their eyes grew smaller and duller, their hair greyer and thinner etc etc.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 25, 2015 at 16:27

8 Answers 8


There are a number of different words that could do the trick. The most common being "to age":

to become old or older http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/age

There's olden: Def. 1) intr. To grow old, to become old in appearance or character, to age

Def 2) trans. To cause to grow old, to make older in appearance or character, to age Source: OED2

There's veterate: "To wax [become] old"

and the adjective veterascent: "Growing old" Source: OED2

Finally, if you're looking for a word that means deteriorate with age you can look at senesce: "(Of a living organism) deteriorate with age" Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/senesce


I agree with the idea of @Mari-Lou A's comment - sorry, can't yet comment myself - that you'd get the best imagery with details about the subject's appearance, as you've already done in your question. I can picture the people being like overripe, decomposing fruit, which is my suggestion if you want a simile.

For a word, I also suggest

timeworn - showing the effects of age or antiquity


Wizened, "to become dry, shrunken, and wrinkled often as a result of aging or of failing vitality."



By Dr. Strange's "hoary hosts of Hoggoth":

Gray, old and gray, covered in gray and white hairs.


Another possibility is decrepit, meaning "wasted and weakened by or as if by the infirmities of old age."


In a flash they became gray and saggy


gray and sagging

  • idiots downvted this, it is now corrected.
    – jimjim
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:03


In a flash they became gray and wrinkled


from MIB III, you got some city miles on you!

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