English public schools: What does "superannuate" mean?

I know what the word superannuate means, but I’ve seen it used in the English public school context, and can’t figure out how it applies. In a P.G. Wodehouse story, a character says that he used to be at Eton, but was superannuated the previous term. Yet, as he speaks, he is attending a different school. Superannuate sounds like the character was too old to stay in school, but if that’s the case, how is it that he can attend another school?

Can someone clue me in?

This is just a guess, but he could have meant that he took the course at Eton so long ago he can no longer use the credit hours towards the total he needs for graduation, or however they arrange things like that in England.

I hope someone more knowledgeable on the subject comes along soon.


If it was Wodehouse, the character was probably using the term as a humorous euphamism for getting kicked out. That’s the type of thing they say in Wodehouse.