juvenile

adjective
ju·​ve·​nile | \ ˈjü-və-ˌnī(-ə)l How to pronounce juvenile (audio) , -nᵊl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) \

Definition of juvenile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : physiologically immature or undeveloped : young juvenile birds
2a : 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

noun

Definition of juvenile (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a young person : youth a gang of juveniles
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for juvenile

Synonyms: Adjective

adolescent, immature, young, youngish, youthful

Synonyms: Noun

bairn [chiefly Scottish], bambino, bud, chap [Southern & Midland], chick, child, cub, kid, kiddie (also kiddy), kiddo, moppet, sprat, sprout, squirt, whelp, youngling, youngster, youth

Antonyms: Adjective

adult, grown-up, mature, matured

Antonyms: Noun

adult, grown-up

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The suspected driver, a juvenile whose name hasn’t been released, fled the scene, and his car was found unoccupied several miles away. Jennifer Kovaleski, The Denver Post, "Man killed in vehicle-pedestrian crash at Gaylord Rockies Resort died saving others, family says," 1 July 2019 Kearny Mesa is also home to the traffic and juvenile infraction divisions of San Diego Superior Court. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kearny Mesa & Serra Mesa: Rich military history, and I’ll have a boba with that," 30 June 2019 There’s the aging clown, Percy Gower (Jack Hickey), who waxes nostalgic about his own days as a juvenile playing the women’s parts. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Elizabeth Rex' at Oak Park Festival Theatre is a worthy 'distraction' for Shakespeare fans," 17 June 2019 Eastwood said the prosecutor before him, Todd Meyer, handled the matter and it was sent through the juvenile justice system. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Student says her Lebanon school didn't do enough when she was bullied over nude photos," 12 June 2019 The excavations continued through 2016, and resulted in the discovery of more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, according to National Geographic. Marwa Eltagouri, ajc, "Remains of 140 children found in Peru, pointing to world's largest ancient child sacrifice," 28 Apr. 2018 The excavations continued through 2016, and resulted in the discovery of more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, according to National Geographic. Marwa Eltagouri, chicagotribune.com, "Remains of 140 children found in Peru, pointing to world's largest ancient child sacrifice," 27 Apr. 2018 The excavations continued through 2016, and resulted in the discovery of more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, according to National Geographic. The Washington Post, AL.com, "Bodies of 140 children found in Peru, possibly world's largest child sacrifice site," 27 Apr. 2018 In the early 1930s, his crime was decidedly juvenile. Alexis Coe, Town & Country, "Portrait of a Troublemaker: A Rare Glimpse of John F. Kennedy's Life at Boarding School," 26 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Among the bills approved on the final day were several criminal justice reform measures, including decriminalizing marijuana possession by juveniles and underage possession or consumption of alcohol. Washington Post, "Delaware lawmakers end session with flurry of bills," 1 July 2019 Virginia recently passed a bill to prevent a long-term registration for juveniles who consensually share nude photos with one another, and Colorado's bill created lower offenses and civil infractions. oregonlive.com, "Teens exchange nude selfies; now, one must register as a sex offender," 29 June 2019 Virginia recently passed a bill to prevent a long-term registration for juveniles who consensually share nude photos with one another, and Colorado’s bill created lower offenses and civil infractions. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A teen traded naked selfies with girls his age. A court is making him register as a sex offender.," 27 June 2019 His brother, Timothy Jones, was charged as a juvenile and was on release in December 2016 when he was shot to death by an 18-year-old Elgin man named Anton Cross with whom Jones had an ongoing dispute, authorities said. Theresa Clift, chicagotribune.com, "10-year sentence for South Elgin man who authorities said was part of trio that abducted Wheaton College student and took cash they made him withdraw from ATMs," 27 June 2019 Several juveniles and two 18 year olds were questioned but no arrests were made. Brian Lisik, cleveland.com, "Man allegedly forges wife’s signature for $300,000 loan: Hinckley Township Police Blotter," 22 June 2019 The group of 17 migrants was comprised of eight adults and nine juveniles. Fox News, "Border Patrol rescues 17 migrants lost on military bombing range in Arizona," 21 June 2019 Not only were there hundreds of fossilized bones from adults and juveniles, there were also 300 ancient eggs, including 16 with embryos at various stages of development. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Pterosaurs May Have Flown as Soon as They Hatched," 13 June 2019 Carolise was first arrested April 4 and booked with aggravated rape of a victim under 13, two counts of cruelty to a juvenile and aggravated assault with a firearm. Michelle Hunter, nola.com, "After arrests in girl’s shocking rape and abuse, 2nd victim comes forward: JPSO," 13 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of juvenile

Adjective

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1733, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for juvenile

Adjective and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about juvenile

Statistics for juvenile

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for juvenile

The first known use of juvenile was in 1625

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for juvenile

juvenile

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of juvenile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

disapproving : unpleasantly childish
: relating to or meant for young people
: of or relating to young people who have committed crimes

juvenile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of juvenile (Entry 2 of 2)

: a young person : a person who is not yet old enough to be legally considered an adult
: a young bird or animal

juvenile

adjective
ju·​ve·​nile | \ ˈjü-və-ˌnīl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) , -və-nᵊl\

Kids Definition of juvenile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not fully grown or developed a juvenile bird
2 : of or designed for young people a juvenile magazine
3 : having or showing a lack of emotional maturity juvenile pranks

juvenile

noun

Kids Definition of juvenile (Entry 2 of 2)

: a young person : youth

juvenile

adjective
ju·​ve·​nile | \ ˈjü-və-ˌnīl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) , -vən-ᵊl How to pronounce juvenile (audio) \

Medical Definition of juvenile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

noun

Medical Definition of juvenile (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

juvenile

noun
ju·​ve·​nile | \ ˈjü-və-ˌnīl, -nəl\

Legal Definition of juvenile

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on juvenile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with juvenile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for juvenile

Spanish Central: Translation of juvenile

Nglish: Translation of juvenile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of juvenile for Arabic Speakers

Comments on juvenile

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

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!