Definitions

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

  • adj. Occurring, growing, or existing before the customary, correct, or assigned time; uncommonly or unexpectedly early: a premature end.
  • adj. Born after a gestation period of less than the normal time: a premature infant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Occurring before a state of readiness or maturity has arrived.
  • adj. Taking place earlier than anticipated, prepared for, or desired.
  • adj. Suffering from premature ejaculation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Mature or ripe before the proper time.
  • adj. Happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper or usual time; adopted too soon; too early; untimely
  • adj. Arriving or received without due authentication or evidence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Arriving too early at maturity; mature or ripe before the proper time; hence, coming into existence or occurring too soon; too early; untimely; overhasty.

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

  • adj. uncommonly early or before the expected time
  • adj. born after a gestation period of less than the normal time
  • adj. too soon or too hasty

Etymologies

Middle English, ripe, from Latin praemātūrus, ripe too early : prae-, pre- + mātūrus, ripe; see mā-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
circa 1520, From Latin praematurus, equivalent to pre- +‎ mature. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The most general and inclusive way in which to designate all the phenomena that sociology proper considers, without importing into the term premature hypotheses by way of explanation, is to assert that they are the phenomena of "contact" between persons.

    Introduction to the Science of Sociology

  • Mr. Bush warned against what he called a premature withdrawal of U.S. forces, saying the troop increase he ordered needs time to work.

    CNN Transcript Jul 4, 2007

  • Mr. Bush will repeat his mantra about the harm he says withdrawing troops prematurely would cause and vow not to set what he calls premature deadlines.

    CNN Transcript Dec 7, 2005

  • In a statement in Pretoria CP leader Dr Ferdi Hartzenberg also cautioned against what he called the premature outlining of borders for such a "volkstaat".

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • So, the chairman of the commission died pretty young, in his early 40's from what I call premature senility, that is, arteriosclerosis, which is unusual, but he did and died very suddenly.

    Oral History Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975. Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)

  • Now sir, that is what I call a premature judgment!

    The Man With The Broken Ear

  • Train traffic had been worsened Tuesday by a wildcat strike by Belgian train drivers protesting what they called the premature blaming of one their own for the accident.

    Fore, right!

  • Trustee Kirsten Livak apologized to audience members about what she described as a premature announcement.

    Sierra Sun - Top Stories

  • Around the offices of Sports Illustrated, we try to resist what we call the premature trend story.

    SI.com

  • In the notes of approbation which you have attached to each piece in the Vollm now printing, a praise too direct, if not premature, is made to meet the publick eye.

    Letter 58

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  • "We have news that 17 Battery has had a premature. No one killed but one gunner injured. This was strange as the gun had just come back from workshops, where it had been repaired for a previous premature."
    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 19, 2009