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 precocious (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 Her precocious path was paved with both opportunities and challenges, an early passion for language and the diverse influences of her native city. al, "Biden inauguration poet Amanda Gorman follows footsteps of Maya Angelou, Robert Frost," 18 Jan. 2021 In another narrative tangent, Val’s 8-year-old son, Victor Jr., is a precocious chef. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Chang-rae Lee’s Latest Is Fueled by Harrowing Travel, Witness Protection and Food, Food and More Food," 1 Feb. 2021 White absorbs, all eyes are on Vassell, the Spurs’ precocious first-round pick out of Florida State. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "With Derrick White back, how do the Spurs find minutes for Devin Vassell?," 1 Feb. 2021 Her precocious path was paved with both opportunities and challenges, an early passion for language and the diverse influences of her native city. al, "Biden inauguration poet Amanda Gorman follows footsteps of Maya Angelou, Robert Frost," 18 Jan. 2021 Where the best heroes and heroines of this genre are precocious, painfully self-aware, and armed with a purpose, the Bridgertons sure are pretty. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "Bridgertons, Ranked," 12 Jan. 2021 Her precocious path was paved with both opportunities and challenges, an early passion for language and the diverse influences of her native city. al, "Biden inauguration poet Amanda Gorman follows footsteps of Maya Angelou, Robert Frost," 18 Jan. 2021 Her precocious path was paved with both opportunities and challenges, an early passion for language and the diverse influences of her native city. Julia Barajas, Los Angeles Times, "‘Make the dream exist.’ How L.A.’s Amanda Gorman became Biden’s inauguration poet," 17 Jan. 2021 When his father, and possibly also his mother, fled the city in 1573, 10-year-old Cornelis, who showed a precocious aptitude for drawing, stayed behind as an apprentice to a successful painter, Pieter Pietersz. New York Times, "The Lusty Creativity of Cornelis Cornelisz von Haarlem," 13 Jan. 2021

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

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Precocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precocious. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for precocious

precocious

adjective

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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