juvenile

1 of 2

adjective

ju·​ve·​nile ˈjü-və-ˌnī(-ə)l How to pronounce juvenile (audio) -nᵊl How to pronounce juvenile (audio)
1
: physiologically immature or undeveloped : young
juvenile birds
2
a
: of, relating to, characteristic of, or suitable for children or young people
juvenile fiction
b
: of or relating to young people who have committed or are accused of committing a criminal offense
the juvenile justice system
juvenile crime
3
: reflecting psychological or intellectual immaturity : childish
juvenile behavior
juvenile pranks
told him he was being juvenile
4
: derived from sources within the earth and coming to the surface for the first time
used especially of water and gas

juvenile

2 of 2

noun

plural juveniles
1
a
: a young person : youth
often, specifically : an individual who is under an age fixed by law (such as 18 years) at which he or she would be charged as an adult for a criminal act
… some states also have been changing their laws to give school administrators more access to the records of juveniles whose cases were processed by juvenile courts. Peter Schmidt
b
: a book for children or young people
2
: a young individual resembling an adult of its kind except in size and reproductive activity: such as
a
: a fledged bird not yet in adult plumage
b
: a 2-year-old racehorse
3
: an actor or actress who plays youthful parts

Examples of juvenile in a Sentence

Adjective She criticized his juvenile behavior at the party. a juvenile alligator just hatched from its egg Noun She works to keep juveniles away from drugs. a medical study that followed juveniles through adolescence and into adulthood
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Researchers identified the species from adult and juvenile teeth in Mammoth Cave, as well as the Bangor Formation in Alabama. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Feb. 2024 The most effective solution arrived by surprise a few years ago when, without warning or recent precedent, the bay suddenly became a nursery for about half a dozen juvenile great white sharks. Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 More police, establish juvenile detention centers, lock up repeat and violent offenders. Legislation such as the Parent’s Bill of Rights have made headlines in North Carolina and beyond. Charlotte Observer, 8 Feb. 2024 Two men were taken to the Fort Worth City Jail and a juvenile male was transported to a juvenile detention center. Nicole Lopez, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1 Feb. 2024 Later, Guilfoyle moved to Los Angeles, where she was hired as a deputy district attorney, working on adult and juvenile cases, according to SFGate. Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2024 Meanwhile, rain and snow since last year’s drought are gradually lowering salinity and (hopefully) protecting juvenile oysters from diseases that spread in salty water. Baltimore Sun Editorial Board, Baltimore Sun, 17 Jan. 2024 Just under half of youths who were suspected in shootings or were wounded or killed had past criminal or juvenile justice system involvement. Emily Davies, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 Most were entrusted to work only on juvenile cases. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2024
Noun
Investigators say the suspect was part of a group of eight juveniles who arrived for services in the company of a single adult. Mark Price, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 The outlet reported that the juveniles first called their grandmother, who lives in an adjacent property in Castro Urdiales, on Wednesday night to tell her they had been kidnapped. Greg Norman, Fox News, 9 Feb. 2024 Authorities did not identify the juveniles by gender. Harry Harris, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 For starters, the weapon was legal to own, and Michigan had no law at the time requiring the gun to be properly stored away from juveniles. Thaddeus Hoffmeister, The Conversation, 6 Feb. 2024 The Washington Post reviewed more than 180 shootings committed by juveniles since the Columbine massacre in 1999 and found in cases where the source of the gun could be determined that the weapons were found in the homes of friends, relatives or parents 86 percent of the time. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 The largest juvenile took on the alpha role and led the charge against the intruder. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 1 Feb. 2024 Deputies arrived at the scene and found the juveniles lying in the roadway. Caleb Lunetta, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 Four juveniles faced criminal charges in connection with the attack. Nic F. Anderson, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

French or Latin; French juvénile, from Latin juvenilis, from juvenis young person — more at young

First Known Use

Adjective

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1733, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of juvenile was in 1625

Dictionary Entries Near juvenile

Cite this Entry

“Juvenile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/juvenile. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

juvenile

1 of 2 adjective
ju·​ve·​nile ˈjü-və-ˌnīl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) -vən-ᵊl How to pronounce juvenile (audio)
1
: showing incomplete development : immature, childish
2
: of, relating to, or characteristic of children or young people
juvenility
ˌjü-və-ˈnil-ət-ē
noun

juvenile

2 of 2 noun
1
: a young person, animal, or plant
2
: a book for young people
3
: an actor who plays youthful parts

Medical Definition

juvenile

1 of 2 adjective
ju·​ve·​nile ˈjü-və-ˌnīl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) -vən-ᵊl How to pronounce juvenile (audio)
1
: physiologically immature or undeveloped
juvenile fish
2
: of, relating to, characteristic of, or affecting children or young people
juvenile arthritis
3
: reflecting psychological or intellectual immaturity
juvenile behavior

juvenile

2 of 2 noun
1
: a young person
especially : one below the legally established age (as of 18) of adulthood
2
: a young individual resembling an adult of its kind except in size and reproductive activity

Legal Definition

juvenile

noun
ju·​ve·​nile
ˈjü-və-ˌnīl, -nəl
: an individual who is under an age fixed by law (as 18 years) at which he or she would be charged as an adult for a criminal act compare minor

More from Merriam-Webster on juvenile

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