Definition of precocious
- precocious puberty
- a precocious child
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
She was a precocious child who could read before she went to school.
A precocious musician, he was giving concerts when he was seven.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precocious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Precocious got started in Latin when the prefix prae-, meaning "ahead of," was combined with the verb coquere, meaning "to cook" or "to ripen," to form the adjective "praecox," which means "early ripening" or "premature." By 1650, English speakers had turned "praecox" into "precocious" and were using it especially of plants that produced blossoms before their leaves came out. By the 1670s, "precocious" was also being used to describe humans who developed skills or talents before others typically did.
What made you want to look up precocious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).