Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The period during which one is legally underage.
  • n. A period of immaturity: "The bravest achievements were always accomplished in the nonage of a nation” ( Thomas Paine).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being a minor.
  • n. A time of immaturity.
  • n. A payment formerly made from to the parish clergy upon the death of a parishioner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The ninth part of movable goods, formerly payable to the clergy on the death of persons in their parishes.
  • n. Time of life before a person becomes of age; legal immaturity; minority.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The period of legal infancy, during which a person is, in the eyes of the law, unable to manage his own affairs; minority. See age, n., 3.
  • n. The period of immaturity in general.
  • n. A ninth part of movables, which in former times was paid to the English clergy on the death of persons in their parish, and claimed on pretense of being devoted to pious uses.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any age prior to the legal age

Etymologies

Middle English nounage, from Anglo-Norman, variant of Old French nonaage : non-, non- + aage, age; see age.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman nounage, corresponding to non- +‎ age. (Wiktionary)
From Late Latin nonagium, from nōnus ("ninth"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If that happen in their nonage, which is probable, appoint commendatories to discharge the duty for them for a laudable allowance, but gathering the fruits for the support of your grandchildren, till they come to virility to be consecrated, '&c.

    The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • In a better possible world, houses of worship would never be welcome, but only tolerated as remnants of humanity's nonage.

    Andrew Levine: Of Mosques and Marriage

  • Guilbert Ralston, one of the seven sons of a rich merchant prince who as youths terrorized the countryside (we are not told where it is) disappears "while still in his nonage."

    “Living hand to mouth. . .”

  • You and I would, you know, become men and women, while we were yet scarcely more than children — We have run, while yet in our nonage, through the passions and adventures of youth, and therefore we are now old before our day, and the winter of our life has come on ere its summer was well begun. —

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • I find that, during my nonage, I had the reputation of a very sullen youth, but was always a favourite of my schoolmaster, who used to say, “that my parts were solid, and would wear well.”

    Looking back to 1711

  • In my nonage I used to carry grudges, when I matured I got even, now in my dotage I get ahead.

    Think Progress » McCain Attacks Blogosphere

  • For we cannot deny the church of God both in Asia and Africa, if we do not forget the peregrinations of the apostles, the deaths of the martyrs, the sessions of many and (even in our reformed judgment) lawful councils, held in those parts in the minority and nonage of ours.

    Religio Medici

  • Most of us spend a good part of our lives in clearing our minds of the notions that sprang up unchecked during our nonage.

    Eve and David

  • Some statutes specify how people get married; these generally include both procedural requirements and who can get married, including prohibitions on consanguinity, nonage, and same-sex status in many states.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Iowa state trial court judge rules for gay marriage:

  • For the same reason we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage.

    Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy

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