After looking up the antonym of elder and only finding younger, I'm wondering how to better say the opposite of "Respect your elders."

Respect your youngers?

Seems kind of strange to me.

  • 4
    Respect your juniors. – GoldenGremlin Oct 12 '15 at 21:31
  • As Silenus says. Alternatively, Respect those younger than you. – chasly from UK Oct 12 '15 at 21:33
  • My vote would be for "juniors". – Hot Licks Oct 12 '15 at 23:31
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    You looked up the adjective, not the noun with the -s. – Kris Jan 3 '18 at 10:46

I agree that 'juniors' is the best antonym for 'elders'.

But I also think there is an intrinsic problem associated with finding a good antonym for 'elders' in the context of 'respect'. Conventionally at least, older people are considered to be wiser than younger people - they have lived longer, seen and experienced more etc. For this reason the honest opinion of people older than you is thought to deserve serious consideration. 'Respect your juniors', on the other hand, sounds strange, not because the antonym is wrong (I don't think it is), but because, conventionally at least, younger people are reckoned still to be in the business of making and learning from (more or less stupid) mistakes. For many older people an exhortation to respect (all) their juniors provokes a baffled 'Why?'

I should add that, personally (as opposed to conventionally), I don't think age is actually relevant when it comes to respecting anyone. Old people as much as young people can have disagreeable opinions and beliefs. And of course young people actually have a better chance of seeing the error of their ways and becoming worthy of respect in the end...

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  • Thanks for taking the time to think about it. I think this is the issue, that the idea seems kind of strange so any word you place in there for the antonym of elder seems strange. – Jasper Oct 13 '15 at 16:40

I really searched and asked many but it seems like there is no exact antonym for "elder". The closest two sentences to what you want are: "Respect the younger." "Respect your juniors." (As the guys commented above.)

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I have never seen or heard junior used in that way, as mentioned above.

Youth would be my choice of antonym:

"The youths and elders of the church."

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  • 1
    How would this work in the phrase used in the OP ? – Dan Oct 13 '15 at 12:02
  • “Youths” as a plural noun has a very derogatory connotation (if not necessarily denotation). It envokes young hoodlums hanging out in gangs on the streets. “Respect the youths” sounds like a warning not to mess with a local gang of drug dealers more than an encouragement to show respect towards those younger than you in general. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 3 '18 at 10:23

Should you ever want to say that, youngsters might work in the context.

Youngster is a good, generic way to talk about a person who's younger than you are. ... Older people sometimes use it to refer to adults who are younger than they are: "You youngsters can keep playing cards, but I'm going to bed!" (vocabulary)

"Most of your "problems" are attention-getting mechanisms cleverly employed by your youngsters to harass their elders, ..." (Emma R. Tan, "Questions and Answers on Bringing Up Children", p.77)

See also:
1. "The aim of the project is to give youngsters a springboard towards independence."
2. "He will be working with the youth team and offering the youngsters guidance."

Google Books:
1. "That being the case, it was imperative that there should be social intercourse between people and people; a ranking system within a clan; an orderly relationship between elders and youngsters, between the noble and the lowly; unity, mutual assistance, and concerted action."
(Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka: "Phenomenology of Life in a Dialogue Between Chinese and Occidental Philosophy", p.164)
2. "Some of Mr. Romero's relatives, elders and youngsters alike, consider his fascination with the mine to be slightly eccentric and entirely useless."
(Melaqu’as Romero et al., "The lost gold mine of Juan Mondrag—n: a legend from New Mexico", p.167)

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