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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or undergoing adolescence. See Synonyms at young.
  • adj. Characteristic of adolescence; immature: an adolescent sense of humor.
  • n. A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity; a teenager.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Characteristic of, or relating to, or undergoing adolescence; immature.
  • n. A teenager; a juvenile after puberty

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Growing; advancing from childhood to maturity.
  • n. A youth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Growing up; advancing from childhood to manhood or womanhood; youthful.
  • n. One who is growing up; a person of either sex during the period of adolescence.
  • In physical geography, noting that stage of land-sculpture, between youth and maturity, in which some rapids still remain even in the larger streams.

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

  • adj. relating to or peculiar to or suggestive of an adolescent
  • adj. displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity
  • n. a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity
  • adj. in the state of development between puberty and maturity
  • adj. being of the age 13 through 19


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin adolēscēns, adolēscent-, present participle of adolēscere, to grow up : ad-, ad- + alēscere, to grow, inchoative of alere, to nourish; see al-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested 1482, from Middle French adolescent, from Latin adolescentem, accusative form of adolescens, present participle of adolescere ("to become adult, grow up"), from ad- ("to") + alescere ("to grow or become nourished"). The adjective first appeared in 1785. (Wiktionary)



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  • Actually, in this case I think it's just defining the adjectival use in terms of the noun use.

    October 11, 2008

  • The Weirdnet paradox is back! Compare with shoddy.

    October 10, 2008