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

Synonyms for adolescence


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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 But unlike those vaccines, flu shots are high maintenance, requiring refreshment through adolescence and adulthood, every single year. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 18 Mar. 2022 Another study, published in 2017, found that Filipino American youth were at higher risk of depressive symptoms during adolescence and young adulthood compared with their Chinese American peers. Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2022 Each was seen mostly in men and usually started in adolescence or early adulthood. New York Times, 29 Dec. 2021 Engeli Broberg’s film is a portrait of early adolescence and gender stereotypes, and ultimately about the journey to be true to yourself. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 23 Nov. 2021 First, college is a consumption good as well as a human capital investment, and a person can greatly enjoy the four-to-five-year collegiate gap period between adolescence and life even though the result financially is not satisfactory. Richard Vedder, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Moreover, addictions typically start in youth, with 90 percent beginning as experimentation in adolescence or early adulthood. Maia Szalavitz, Scientific American, 12 Sep. 2021 Stifling their girlhood in order to survive a world built to accommodate the desires and violence of men is the pound of flesh exacted from girls in order to enter adolescence and then, hopefully, womanhood. Nanjala Nyabola, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2022 As Sunshine’s adolescence unfurls into a reality of angst and confusion, Pedersen rewinds to how the Turner family came to inhabit the sagging yellow stilt house in the one-road town of Fingertip. Leah Tyler, ajc, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Adolescence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on adolescence

Nglish: Translation of adolescence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adolescence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about adolescence


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