ad·​o·​les·​cence | \ ˌa-də-ˈle-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce adolescence (audio) \

Definition of adolescence

1 : the period of life when a child develops into an adult : the period from puberty to maturity terminating legally at the age of majority (see majority sense 2a) He struggled through his adolescence.
2 : the state or process of growing up
3 : a stage of development (as of a language or culture) prior to maturity

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Synonyms for adolescence


minority, nonage

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Examples of adolescence in a Sentence

Their children are on the verge of adolescence. He struggled through his adolescence.

Recent Examples on the Web

Those Rachel Berry solos and New Directions harmonies scored our high school years, and for some of us, the Glee version is a more honest reminder of our adolescence. Aamina Khan, Teen Vogue, ""Glee" Introduced Me to Madonna and Gave Me a Western Music Education I Still Value 10 Years After the Show's Premiere," 24 May 2019 Tolkien begins with the tragedy of the Somme Offensive, but weaves in elements of the author's childhood and adolescence. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Tolkien': A Life Where Fantasy Met Reality," 3 May 2019 This house brings me back to my childhood, to my adolescence. Vogue, "Stylist Lolita Jacobs’s Effortlessly Chic Wedding in the South of France," 26 July 2018 Research has also shown that voting habits are often formed during childhood and adolescence. Lauren Young, Teen Vogue, "“Cap, Gown, Vote!” Is Helping to Register Eligible High School Students to Vote," 14 Sep. 2018 The tome details stories of the former first children's lives, from watching their grandfather become president in their early childhood to living their adolescence in the spotlight. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jenna Bush Hager Posted a Heartfelt Message About Her 99-Year-Old Grandma on Instagram," 8 Nov. 2018 Or that each struggled with emotional and other problems during his adolescence and that one of them continued to? Ty Burr,, "When triplets are separated — then reunited," 4 July 2018 But at some point, all those little buddies are going to reach adolescence. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: In the Raunchy Blockers, It's the Adults Who Need to Grow Up," 6 Apr. 2018 Production then cast teenagers Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace to chronicle the characters' adolescence for the ensuing six episodes. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "My Brilliant Friend to Return for Season 2 on HBO," 4 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adolescence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adolescence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for adolescence

Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin adolēscentia, adulēscentia, noun derivative of adolēscent-, adolēscens adolescent entry 2

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Statistics for adolescence

Last Updated

1 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adolescence

The first known use of adolescence was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for adolescence


ad·​o·​les·​cence | \ ˌa-də-ˈle-sᵊns How to pronounce adolescence (audio) \

Kids Definition of adolescence

: the period of life between childhood and adulthood


ad·​o·​les·​cence | \ ˌad-ᵊl-ˈes-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce adolescence (audio) \

Medical Definition of adolescence

1 : the state or process of growing up
2 : the period of life from puberty to maturity terminating legally at the age of majority

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Comments on adolescence

What made you want to look up adolescence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

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