10a. In plural.
Age; the length of time that a living thing has lived.
5b Years plural : age
What is the subtle difference between “years” and “age”? Dictionaries seem to treat them as the same. Are they interchangeable in the following examples from OED?
1853 F. S. Mines Presbyterian Clergyman looking for Church ii. 17 A tradition that I have since discovered to be not very venerable for its years.
1867 E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest I. vi. 594 William, still a boy in years but a man in conduct and counsel.
1920 R. Macaulay Potterism i. i. 3 They were..as intellectually snobbish as was proper to their years.
2005 R. Douglas Night Song Last Tram 174 Streetwise beyond his years, there was nothing that frightened him.