precocious

adjective
pre·​co·​cious | \ pri-ˈkō-shəs How to pronounce precocious (audio) \

Definition of precocious

1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence precocious puberty
2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age a precocious child

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Other Words from precocious

precociously adverb
precociousness noun
precocity \ pri-​ˈkä-​sə-​tē How to pronounce precocity (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for precocious

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of precocious in a Sentence

But what has paleontologists agog is this googol-granddaddy's precocious attributes: most notably the relative flatness of its face, which is more modern-looking than skulls half its age. — Fred Guterl, Newsweek, 22 July 2002 As a boy, I had caught eight-inch-long, juvenile "snapper" blues in Barnegat Bay and marveled at the uncommon strength and speed and the precocious attack instinct within their slender, silver bodies. — Pete Bodo, New York Times, 8 July 2001 … Columbus was still sailing the ocean blue and American English, frisky and rambunctious as a precocious child, was as yet unborn. — Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2000 … no longer certain that my blackness gave me precocious wisdom, or that I could outslick these folks … — Lorene Cary, Black Ice, 1991 She was a precocious child who could read before she went to school. A precocious musician, he was giving concerts when he was seven.
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Recent Examples on the Web There’s her precocious young son, who has just switched elementary schools to one that does not allow parents to walk their children into the building. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "Jenny Offill's Weather Is a Doomsday Novel We All Can Relate to," 6 Feb. 2020 The organisation behind Davos faces a conflicted identity, increased competition and uncertain succession IN 1971 A precocious German academic—at 32 years old, the holder of five degrees in engineering and economics—hosted a conference. The Economist, "A tour of the Magic Mountain Can the World Economic Forum keep its mojo?," 16 Jan. 2020 Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (in which RuPaul acted), an odd-couple comedy like Twins, and a precocious-kid caper like Home Alone. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "AJ and the Queen Says Drag Will Make America Okay Again," 15 Jan. 2020 The Patient: Lucy Branson, now 4, a precocious preschooler with a fondness for any sort of doll. Markian Hawryluk And Heidi De Marco, chicagotribune.com, "Nothing to sneeze at: The $2,659 bill to pluck doll’s shoe from child’s nostril," 2 Dec. 2019 Which is to say nothing of professional bloggers’ posts, which often go into much greater detail with personal stories and direct quotes from precocious and adorable tykes. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The One Question Parents Should Ask Themselves Before Posting Their Kids on Social Media," 14 Jan. 2019 For now, let’s all appreciate America’s delightful, precocious and preposterously talented snowboarding star. Michael Rosenberg, SI.com, "With an Endearing Personality and Unmatched Talent, Chloe Kim Emerges as the Star of the Winter Olympics," 13 Feb. 2018 That’s probably why her most indelible performances, from a precocious teen in Slums of Beverly Hills to a smooth-talking addict on Orange Is the New Black, have been the ones that seemed closest to her own personality. Judy Berman, Time, "The Best New TV Characters of 2019," 6 Dec. 2019 Little Carrie was a precocious charmer — and why not, given her parents were a sparkling actress, Debbie Reynolds, and a teen idol, crooner Eddie Fisher. Douglass K. Daniel, SFChronicle.com, "Review: Carrie Fisher bio as sharp, endearing as its subject," 31 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of precocious

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for precocious

Latin praecoc-, praecox early ripening, precocious, from prae- + coquere to cook — more at cook

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Time Traveler for precocious

Time Traveler

The first known use of precocious was in 1650

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Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Precocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precocious. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for precocious

precocious

adjective
How to pronounce precocious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of precocious

of a child : having or showing the qualities or abilities of an adult at an unusually early age

precocious

adjective
pre·​co·​cious | \ pri-ˈkō-shəs How to pronounce precocious (audio) \

Kids Definition of precocious

: showing qualities or abilities of an adult at an unusually early age

Other Words from precocious

precociously adverb precociously talented

precocious

adjective
pre·​co·​cious | \ pri-ˈkō-shəs How to pronounce precocious (audio) \

Medical Definition of precocious

1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence precocious puberty
2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age

Other Words from precocious

precociously adverb
precociousness noun

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Comments on precocious

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