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What is age 50 called?

Age 50 is considered a milestone age and goes by several different names. The most common terms used to refer to a person who is 50 years old are “quinquagenarian” and “midlifer”. Some other less commonly used terms include “fifty-year-old” and “fiftieth birthday”.


The term “quinquagenarian” is derived from Latin and means someone who is in their fifties. Specifically, “quinquagenarius” translates to “fifty years old”.

A quinquagenarian is someone between the ages of 50 and 59. So once a person turns 50, they enter into the quinquagenarian phase of life.

This term may not be widely used in casual conversation, but it is commonly used in academic literature, news articles, and formal writing when referring to people in their fifties.


“Midlifer” is a more colloquial term used to describe someone who is around the midpoint of life, in their 40s or 50s.

There is no precise definition for when middle age begins and ends. It is often considered to span from around age 40 to 60. So when someone turns 50, they are often seen as being solidly in the middle of their life.

“Midlifer” emphasizes that the person is in the middle stage between young adulthood and being a senior. It implies they are experiencing the types of milestones, responsibilities, and perspectives that come with being midway through the traditional human lifespan.


The most literal and straightforward term used is simply “fifty-year-old”. This makes it clear the person has reached their 50th birthday and is now in the 50-59 age range.

Referring to someone as a fifty-year-old avoids any ambiguity about their age. It is a very direct way to convey they have entered their 50s decade of life.

Fiftieth Birthday

Another variation is to refer to someone’s “fiftieth birthday”. This emphasizes the specific birthday milestone they have reached.

Their fiftieth birthday marks the day they turned 50 years old. So it focuses less on the ongoing stage of life they have entered, and more on celebrating the milestone event.

Why Age 50 is Seen as a Milestone

Turning 50 is considered a major milestone for several reasons:

  • It marks entering the second half of the average human lifespan.
  • People reflect on having lived half a century.
  • Physical signs of aging often start becoming more apparent in one’s 50s.
  • It is seen as leaving young adulthood and entering middle age.
  • Many people experience a shift in perspective on life when they reach 50.

Here is a more detailed look at some of the changes and experiences that make age 50 feel like a significant turning point for many people:

Entering the Second Half of Life

Fifty years old is seen as an important milestone because it is right in the middle of the average human lifespan. Modern life expectancy means most people live into their late 70s or early 80s in many parts of the world.

So crossing the halfway point provokes reflection on entering the latter stage of life. There can be a sense that the remaining years ahead are now less than those behind. This midpoint transition can cause people to re-evaluate their priorities and goals for the time they have left.

Physical Aging Becomes More Noticeable

For many people, their 50s decade brings more obvious physical signs of aging:

  • Hair thinning and greying
  • Skin wrinkling
  • Weight gain
  • Eyesight changes
  • Aches and pains
  • Less physical endurance

These types of changes serve as constant reminders they are leaving youth behind and aging. While people in their 50s are still active and healthy, the physical impacts of aging are often harder to ignore at this point in life.

Leaving Young Adulthood

Fifty is also seen as a psychological and social milestone because it means leaving the stage of young adulthood. People begin shifting into a midlife mentality and taking on roles associated with middle age:

  • Empty nesting as children grow up
  • Peak of career
  • Caring for aging parents
  • Planning for retirement

These major life changes contribute to people viewing their 50s as fully moving from young adult to the middle aged phase. It marks a transition into new responsibilities, perspectives, and priorities.

Changed Outlook on Time

By the time they reach 50, most people also have a different perspective on time than when they were younger. The years seem to pass more quickly and there is increased awareness of mortality. This can catalyze people to feel a greater sense of urgency about pursuing goals and deepening relationships.

Overall, crossing into one’s 50s is seen as entering a distinct stage of life compared to the decades that preceded it. The physical, social, and psychological shifts make 50 undeniably feel like the start of a new era.

Celebrating the Milestone Birthday

Given the significance of turning 50, it is common for people to celebrate this birthday in special ways. Here are some popular approaches to marking this milestone:

Big Party

Throwing a large 50th birthday party is a great way to celebrate the milestone with friends and family. These parties are often more elaborate than a typical birthday gathering. They may involve dinner, dancing, photo booths, games, DJs, and other fun elements.

Special Trip

A milestone vacation is another way to commemorate turning 50. Popular 50th birthday trip ideas include:

  • A dream destination like Hawaii or Europe
  • A cruise or all-inclusive resort
  • Adventure travel to a place like Costa Rica
  • A nostalgic trip back to a favorite childhood vacation spot

Life Experience Gifts

Gift ideas that create experiences and memories are popular 50th birthday presents. These could include things like:

  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Helicopter tour
  • Race car driving
  • Concert or sports tickets
  • Nice restaurant gift card

Milestone Gifts

Gifts that commemorate the milestone of turning 50 are also thoughtful ideas. Examples include:

  • Photo book or calendar highlighting 50 years
  • Custom portrait or sculpture
  • Engraved milestone jewelry
  • “50 and Fabulous” sash
  • Wine with 50th anniversary label

However someone chooses to celebrate, their 50th birthday provides a great opportunity to reflect on reaching this major life stage while also looking forward to the decades yet to come.

Famous Quinquagenarians

Here are some examples of famous people who turned 50 in recent years:

Name Profession Year Turned 50
Jennifer Lopez Singer/Actress 2019
Will Smith Actor 2018
Barack Obama Politician 2011
Oprah Winfrey TV Host 2004
Tom Cruise Actor 2002
Julia Roberts Actress 2017
George Clooney Actor 2011

This helps illustrate how turning 50 is a milestone experienced by celebrities and public figures as well as everyday people. Even the rich and famous reflect on what it means to enter a new decade and the latter half of life.


Whether referred to as a quinquagenarian, midlifer, or fifty-year-old, age 50 represents an important transition into the middle stage of life. The physical, social, and mental shifts that occur typically make 50 feel like the gateway into a new era. Milestone birthdays like this provide an opportunity for celebration, reflection, and setting future goals. Turning 50 means something different for everyone, but it undeniably marks the beginning of an important new chapter in life.