from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or undergoing adolescence.
  • adjective Characteristic of adolescence; immature: synonym: young.
  • noun A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Growing up; advancing from childhood to manhood or womanhood; youthful.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Growing; advancing from childhood to maturity.
  • noun A youth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[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- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word adolescent.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The Weirdnet paradox is back! Compare with shoddy.

    October 10, 2008

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

    October 11, 2008