Ageless is an adjective describing a person or thing whose age cannot be defined, is nonexistent or does not change.

It can also describe immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

, most specifically eternal youth
Eternal youth
Eternal youth is the concept of human physical immortality free of aging. The youth referred to is usually meant to be in contrast to the depredations of aging, rather than a specific age of the human lifespan....


Ageless people

Agelessness can be attributed to people whose physical characteristics do not match their age.

The Castrati singers of the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 aged differently than other men due to the lack of testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands...

 and other hormones, which took a toll on their appearance and stature. Specifically, Alessandro Moreschi
Alessandro Moreschi
Alessandro Moreschi was the most famous castrato singer of the late 19th century, and the only castrato of the classic bel canto tradition to make solo sound recordings.-Life:...

 (1858–1922) was described as having no facial hair and a young voice and appearance.

Modern examples

Agelessness is also something with which many Hollywood celebrities have been known to strive for, sometimes undergoing cosmetic surgery to attain it. Demi Moore
Demi Moore
Demi Guynes Kutcher , known professionally as Demi Moore, is an American actress. After minor roles in film and a role in the soap opera General Hospital, Moore established her career in films such as St...

, Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is a British model. Scouted at the age of 15, she established herself among the top three most recognisable and in-demand models of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and she was one of six models of her generation declared "supermodels" by the fashion world...

, Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis is an American actress and author. Although she was initially known as a "scream queen" because of her starring roles in several horror films early in her career, such as Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night and Terror Train, Curtis has since compiled a body of work that spans many...

, and Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

 are particularly known for their efforts to appear 'forever young'. Television host Dick Clark
Dick Clark (entertainer)
Richard Wagstaff "Dick" Clark is an American businessman; game-show host; and radio and television personality. He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Dick Clark Productions, which he has sold part of in recent years...

 has been described as "America's Oldest Teenager." Many viewers have hardly perceived his having aged since the 1960s, despite being born in 1929. The appearance of Andy Milonakis
Andy Milonakis
Andrew Michael "Andy" Milonakis is an American actor, writer, rapper, and comedian of Greek descent best known for creating and starring in The Andy Milonakis Show on MTV and MTV2.-Life and career:...

 is also ambiguous since he suffers from a hormone disorder, allowing him to perform the role of a young teenager in his shows. Another celebrity who has the appearance of a teenager is the actor Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne
Edward John David "Eddie" Redmayne is an English actor and model. Redmayne won the 2010 Tony Award as best featured actor in a play for his performance in Red.-Early life:...

, born 1982, due to his virtual lack of beard growth
Facial hair
Facial hair is a secondary sex characteristic of human males. Men often start developing facial hair in the later years of puberty or adolescence, approximately between 17–20 years of age, and most do not finish developing a fully adult beard until their early 20s or even later...

, making him appear no older than 20. In this case, he would be "Britain's oldest teenager".

Actor Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers is an American actress, author, singer and businesswoman, known for her television roles as Chrissy Snow on Three's Company and as Carol Lambert on Step by Step....

 attributes her youthful appearance to the use of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy , also known as bioidentical hormone therapy or natural hormone therapy, is a poorly-defined term referring to the use of hormones that are identical, on a molecular level, with endogenous hormones in hormone replacement therapy...

. Her 2006 book Ageless continues the theme of her 2004 book The Sexy Years that restoring hormone
A hormone is a chemical released by a cell or a gland in one part of the body that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. In essence, it is a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one...

s (especially sex hormone
Sex steroid
Sex steroids, also known as gonadal steroids, are steroid hormones that interact with vertebrate androgen or estrogen receptors. Their effects are mediated by slow genomic mechanisms through nuclear receptors as well as by fast nongenomic mechanisms through membrane-associated receptors and...

s) to youthful levels is the key to agelessness.

Methods to achieve agelessness

Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

 exist largely to aid in attempts to diminish the effects of age. This use sometimes creates conflicting age indicators (for example, red hair belonging to a wrinkled face), making age determination difficult.

Botox, silicone
Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications , cookware, and insulation....

 implants, tummy tucks, facelift
Facelift is the common name for rhytidectomy, a cosmetic surgery procedure.Facelift may also refer to:* Facelift , the revival of a product through cosmetic means such as changing its appearance...

s, and nosejobs are examples of surgeries that attempt to remove the signs of age. Sooner or later, however, the effects of the passing years do start to show on the body as it endures wear and tear. Scientists all over the world are also working on finding the reason of aging
Senescence or biological aging is the change in the biology of an organism as it ages after its maturity. Such changes range from those affecting its cells and their function to those affecting the whole organism...

 and have come out with various theories, but still have a long way to go before this phenomenon is fully understood and controlled.


Gods and goddesses were considered eternal in most ancient mythologies, and were endowed with eternal youth
Eternal youth
Eternal youth is the concept of human physical immortality free of aging. The youth referred to is usually meant to be in contrast to the depredations of aging, rather than a specific age of the human lifespan....

. In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, this was achieved by the gods' eating ambrosia
In ancient Greek mythology, ambrosia is sometimes the food or drink of the Greek gods , often depicted as conferring ageless immortality upon whoever consumes it...


Comics and cartoons

Agelessness is prominent in cartoon
A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works...

s, comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

s, comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

s, and other illustrated media. Characters and situations are staged in an eternal present
Presentism (philosophy of time)
Saint Augustine proposed that the present is a knife edge between the past and the future and could not contain any extended period of time. This seems evident because, if the present is extended, it must have separate parts - but these must be simultaneous if they are truly part of the present...

 where change and causality are considered arbitrary and disposable. Ageless characters in comic books often appear as superhero
A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

es, deriving immortal or timeless properties from accelerated or supernatural healing
Healing factor
A healing factor is a term used to describe the ability of some characters in fiction to recover from bodily injuries or disease at a superhuman rate...

, time travel
Time travel
Time travel is the concept of moving between different points in time in a manner analogous to moving between different points in space. Time travel could hypothetically involve moving backward in time to a moment earlier than the starting point, or forward to the future of that point without the...

, interdimentional origin, and other fictional devices. In cartoons and comic strips, agelessness is used to preserve continuity in an episodic format
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...


Pulp literature

Long-running series of pulp novels
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

 can develop ageless characters. The main characters in The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe Hardy, are fictional teenage brothers and amateur detectives who appear in various mystery series for children and teens....

 have remained 17 and 18, and have been located approximately in the "present day" since 1926. The same can be said for The Nancy Drew series
Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published...

. Nancy has remained 18 years old for many decades (although she started out at the age of 16).

James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 is a realistic ageless character. Some of his ally characters, including M
M (James Bond)
M is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's James Bond series, as well as the films in the Bond franchise. The head of MI6 and Bond's superior, M has been portrayed by three actors in the official Bond film series: Bernard Lee, Robert Brown and since 1995 by Judi Dench. Background =Ian Fleming...

, Q
Q (James Bond)
Q is a fictional character in the James Bond novels and films. Q , like M, is a job title rather than a name. He is the head of Q Branch , the fictional research and development division of the British Secret Service...

, Miss Moneypenny
Miss Moneypenny
Jane Moneypenny, better known as Miss Moneypenny, is a fictional character in the James Bond novels and films. She is secretary to M, who is Bond's boss and head of the British Secret Service...

, Bill Tanner
Bill Tanner
Bill Tanner is a fictional character in the James Bond film and novel series.-Character summary:Superb in a crisis, and blessed with a dry sense of humour, Tanner is M's Chief of Staff. He is also Bond's staunchest ally in the Service, and they often enjoy a round of golf when off-duty...

 and Felix Leiter
Felix Leiter
Felix Leiter is a fictional CIA agent created by Ian Fleming in the James Bond series of novels and films. In both, Leiter works for the CIA and assists Bond in his various adventures as well as being his best friend. In further novels Leiter joins the Pinkerton Detective Agency and in the film...

 also do not age throughout both the novel and film series, which began in 1953 and 1962 respectively. Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming
Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer.Fleming is best known for creating the fictional British spy James Bond and for a series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character, one of the biggest-selling series of fictional books of...

, the creator of Bond, tinkered with details of Bond's early life and changed dates to ensure Bond was always the appropriate age for his stories, a practice called retconning.

Fantasy literature

Tolkien's Elves
Elf (Middle-earth)
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Elves are one of the races that inhabit a fictional Earth, often called Middle-earth, and set in the remote past. They appear in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings, but their complex history is described more fully in The Silmarillion...

 are an iconic example of creatures who are ageless. They are not subject to entropy
Entropy is a thermodynamic property that can be used to determine the energy available for useful work in a thermodynamic process, such as in energy conversion devices, engines, or machines. Such devices can only be driven by convertible energy, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency when...

 and decay, unlike Men
In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the Edain were men who made their way into Beleriand in the First Age, and were friendly to the Elves....

 and the rest of the Middle-earth
Middle-earth is the fictional setting of the majority of author J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place entirely in Middle-earth, as does much of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales....

. Tolkien described his elves as young, yet with some 'wisdom' and experience in their eyes and behaviour; he also stated that Elves do change and age—not by growing old, but by changing other features in their appearance. The combination of youth and overwhelming maturity makes the age of an Elf undefinable and alien by mortal standards.

The Aes Sedai
Aes Sedai
The Aes Sedai are a special society in the fictional universe of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time book series. Aes Sedai means "Servant to All" in the Old Tongue. They are the wielders of the One Power...

 of Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. , under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.-Biography:Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina...

's Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under the pen name Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, the length was increased by increments; at the time of Rigney's death, he expected it to be 12, but it will actually...

 series are described as ageless. A feature of their magical abilities extends life and makes their age difficult to place despite their white hair and physical frailty.

Television soap operas

On television, the process of a character (usually a child) aging unusually fast has been a common feature in soap operas and is known as Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome is a term used to describe the practice of accelerating the age of a television character in conflict with the timeline of a series and/or the real-world progression of time. Characters unseen on screen for a time might reappear portrayed by an actor several years...

 or "SORAS". The reverse effect, where characters fail to age at the rate they should be or in fact even get younger, is known by a the newer, opposite term known as de-SORAS.

See also

  • Androgyny
    Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words ανήρ, stem ανδρ- and γυνή , referring to the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics...

  • Indefinite lifespan
    Indefinite lifespan
    Indefinite lifespan or, indefinite life extension, is a term used in the life extension movement to refer to the longevity of humans, and other life-forms, under conditions in which aging can be effectively and completely prevented and treated. Such individuals would still be susceptible to...

  • Life extension
    Life extension
    Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan...

  • Neoteny
    Neoteny , also called juvenilization , is one of the two ways by which paedomorphism can arise. Paedomorphism is the retention by adults of traits previously seen only in juveniles, and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology. In neoteny, the physiological development of an...

  • Pedomorphosis
  • Rejuvenation
    Rejuvenation (aging)
    Rejuvenation is the hypothetical reversal of the aging process.Rejuvenation is distinct from life extension. Life extension strategies often study the causes of aging and try to oppose those causes in order to slow aging...

  • Werner syndrome
    Werner syndrome
    Werner syndrome is a very rare, autosomal recessive disorder characterized by the appearance of premature aging....

  • Neverland
    Neverland is a fictional world featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others...

    , a place in the Peter Pan
    Peter Pan
    Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

    mythos people can remain young forever
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