1 of 2


ad·​o·​les·​cent ˌa-də-ˈle-sᵊnt How to pronounce adolescent (audio)
: a young person who is developing into an adult : one who is in the state of adolescence


2 of 2


: of, relating to, or being in adolescence
adolescent growth
adolescent boys and girls
: emotionally or intellectually immature
did not appreciate her husband's adolescent high jinks
adolescently adverb

Examples of adolescent in a Sentence

Noun Their children are now adolescents. Adjective an adolescent sheepdog, who hasn't quite gotten the hang of keeping the sheep huddled together would hope that the college students had outgrown such adolescent behavior
Recent Examples on the Web
But through the nonprofit Mi Cuerpo Es Mi Historia (My Body Is My Story), some 700 girls and adolescents have found dance to be part of their recovery. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2024 Black children and adolescents are five times more likely to be killed by a gun than their white peers. Amanda Joy Calhoun, Md, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 New research found that nearly 10% of adolescents worldwide have used non-prescribed weight loss products, like laxatives.1 Using laxatives for weight loss can result in malnutrition, which can lead to other health consequences. Lauryn Higgins, Health, 1 Feb. 2024 Seventeen adolescents or children were killed in shootings in the city in 2022 and 14 were killed in 2021, police records state. Kamal Morgan, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1 Feb. 2024 There is also evidence that caffeine can cause harm to adolescents, which is why pediatricians warn against kids drinking coffee. Jeffrey A. Singer, National Review, 1 Feb. 2024 For schoolkids, particularly adolescents, being clean can mean the difference between being bullied or not. David Frese, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 Here's why doctors are concerned Most of these cases were among children and adolescents who had not been vaccinated against measles, despite being eligible. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 27 Jan. 2024 Throughout the 12 months of 2022, 12.3% of children and adolescents ages 4 to 17 had practiced yoga, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Lina Ruiz, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 24 Jan. 2024
The world is currently off track to reach its 2030 target of ending HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women. Jennifer Lotito, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 For their heavy-handed use of metaphor in exploring adolescent trauma, Quinn No. 1, Charli, and Quinn No. 3 all receive roses. Hayley Tillett, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2024 My confused adolescent yearnings led me to study Russian for a year at the end of college. Merve Emre, The New York Review of Books, 13 Feb. 2024 According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the synthetic opioid was identified in 84 percent of adolescent overdose deaths from 2019 to 2021 and is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49. Teo Armus, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 Leaders in youth health declared a national state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health in 2021, and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has named youth mental health a key priority. Deidre McPhillips, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 Yet the lack of sophistication pleased the giggly adolescent mindset that also indulged Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986), an insipid piece of Stephen King nostalgia. Armond White, National Review, 7 Feb. 2024 Fearless in its original 2008 form was adolescent in every way: a gentle voice singing fantasies of Juliet finding her Romeo, a boy on a white horse beckoning his hardened princess. Allaire Nuss,, 6 Feb. 2024 Endlessly clever and funny, Orion and the Dark also beautifully conveys the adolescent angst that plagues most of us and the familial love that can enable us to conquer it. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adolescent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin adolēscent-, adolēscens "young man or woman, youth," noun derivative of adolēscens adolescent entry 2


borrowed from French & Latin; French, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin adolēscent-, adolēscens, adulēscens "young, youthful," present participle of adolēscere, adulēscere "to become mature, grow up" — more at adult entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of adolescent was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near adolescent

Cite this Entry

“Adolescent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 noun
ad·​o·​les·​cent -ᵊnt How to pronounce adolescent (audio)
: one that is in the state of adolescence


2 of 2 adjective
: of, relating to, or being in adolescence
adolescently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on adolescent

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