ad·o·les·cence | \ˌa-də-ˈle-sᵊn(t)s \

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

Every other chapter draws us back to Peri's adolescence, growing up in a house torn between her mother's strict Muslim faith and her father's equally strident skepticism. Ron Charles,, "Elif Shafak's 'Three Daughters of Eve': So timely it seems almost clairvoyant," 11 Jan. 2018 From our early days of adolescence, we're taught to pick apart our bodies, our quirks, our interests, our traits...until there is nothing left but fear and shame. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Amy Schumer's New Movie Isn't About Her Body—It’s About the Danger of Self-Loathing," 19 Apr. 2018 This is important because many studies link marijuana use during adolescence to cognitive deficits, depression and other mental-health problems. Washington Post, "Commentary: Keep pot billboards away from kids," 24 June 2018 People can develop narcolepsy at any stage of life, but onset most commonly occurs in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Helen Branswell, STAT, "A stubborn medical mystery: Was pandemic flu vaccine tied to an increase in narcolepsy cases?," 5 July 2018 After the sudden death of her father, Alison reflects on the past events of her life to examine the family dynamics that influenced her from childhood, adolescence and adult perception. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Towle Theater’s ‘Fun Home’ run ranks as Indiana stage premiere," 28 June 2018 First Suburb by Chana Porter *World Premiere* November 16 – December 19, 2018 Five preteens teeter on the brink of adolescence when a shocking and violent act interrupts their insular world of personal struggles and triumphs. Wei-huan Chen, Houston Chronicle, "Catastrophic Theatre's 2018-19 season features Will Eno and Robert O'Hara," 27 June 2018 Peer pressure, academic expectations, and conflicting and inaccurate information on the Internet and in social media complicate our students’ ability to navigate the challenges of adolescence. Paul Brodeur,, "Should the Legislature adopt the bill aimed at modernizing sex education in Massachusetts?," 8 June 2018 The Berries n’ Cream Poppin’ Tart is a handcrafted, elevated version of a dessert often associated with childhood or post-adolescence. Allison Steele,, "Pop-Tart or Toaster Strudel? No need to pick a side," 24 May 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

19 Oct 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of adolescence

: the period of life between childhood and adulthood


ad·o·les·cence | \ˌad-ᵊl-ˈes-ᵊn(t)s \

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).


lying above or upon

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