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
Admittedly, the mere thought of one bed being hoisted over another could conjure visions of juvenile slumber parties and sweaty summers spent at sleepaway camp. Kelsey Mulvey, Sunset Magazine, 11 Apr. 2024 The device doesn’t have a top, Pisano said, because the juvenile coral needs sunlight and the parrot fish don’t generally want to position themselves facing downward to eat. David Fischer, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2024 The young girl was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in March 2020. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 11 Apr. 2024 Over the years, scores of studies have shown black bears to be formidable predators of juvenile moose—particularly when there are no grizzlies around to compete for the prey. Travis Hall, Field & Stream, 10 Apr. 2024 The juvenile shenanigans that provide conflict are filled with tension — as predicaments like breaking an arm and dealing with cops are very different scenarios from the perspective of the Black Crandells as compared to their white predecessors. Courtney Howard, Variety, 9 Apr. 2024 After yellow cards filled leg one, and with Mexican fans crudely prone to juvenile anti-gay chants, Wednesday could get ugly. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 7 Apr. 2024 For decades, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has reared juvenile fish to help boost the creatures’ numbers in the wild. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 Gee set a May 10 deadline for the juvenile coordinator to file an interim report about the number of minors held in open-air sites and how the agency was complying with the judge's order. arkansasonline.com, 5 Apr. 2024
Noun
Officers arrived on the scene around 11:30 p.m. on March 30 and found a large group of juveniles gathered, including those who had been shot, Indianapolis Police Deputy Chief Tanya Terry told reporters the day after the shooting. Zenebou Sylla and Sabrina Souza, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 The killings of Irving and Avion bring to three the number of juveniles killed in D.C. this year. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2024 In June 2021, Bell, who is now 37, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2024 According to officials, one adult and two juveniles were arrested; more information was expected to be released, as the case remained ongoing. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 1 Apr. 2024 The three girls, who have not been identified publicly by law enforcement due to their age, have been charged as juveniles and have pleaded not guilty, The Washington Post reported. Charlotte Phillipp, Peoplemag, 31 Mar. 2024 Three adults and three juveniles have been charged thus far. Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 29 Mar. 2024 In addition to handling capital cases, Stevenson has argued six times before the Supreme Court, including in a landmark case in 2012 that outlawed mandatory life sentences for juveniles, without parole. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 The juveniles, ages 11, 12 and 16, have each been charged with robbery by threat, a spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston said in an email. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 21 Mar. 2024

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 18 Apr. 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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