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

Synonyms

early, inopportune, premature, unseasonable, untimely

Antonyms

late

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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

Then along came another basketball prodigy, even more precocious than James. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "LeBron James Jr. hits ridiculous trick shot, leaves calling card for Stephen Curry," 16 Aug. 2019 Gardner Smith, a precocious student of literature, read the same novelists as most aspiring writers in mid-century America: Hemingway and Faulkner, Proust and Dostoyevsky. Adam Shatz, The New Yorker, "“How Does It Feel To Be a White Man?”: William Gardner Smith’s Exile in Paris," 11 Aug. 2019 Also cast were Eliana Sua as his precocious daughter, Samantha, Lori Pelenise Tuisano as his mother, Sefina, and Josh Mauga, John Tui and Reigns as his usos, or brothers. chicagotribune.com, "Dwayne Johnson brought his Samoan roots to spinoff ‘Hobbs & Shaw’," 28 July 2019 Chloe, the precocious daughter of Jane’s friend Madeline, had overheard her mother talking to Jane about Jane’s assault—and Chloe, being a girl fashioned fully in her mother’s image, had passed the information along to Ziggy. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "‘Giving You Salt’: The Most Powerful Moment on Big Little Lies So Far," 17 June 2019 Grande wasn’t very talkative Friday, but the show did feature a silly home video of a precocious pre-teen Grande pretending to be a newscaster. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ariana Grande performs at the peak of her powers at packed Fiserv Forum show in Milwaukee," 7 Dec. 2018 Ten years later, Marianne, with a precocious son (Joseph Engel) in tow, is back in Abel’s life. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘A Faithful Man’ provides a sexy morsel of French romance," 1 Aug. 2019 For all the excitement around his homecoming, fans hunger to see the precocious champion risk his title against a top competitor. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Gervonta Davis has dream return to Baltimore, retains world title by TKO at Royal Farms Arena," 28 July 2019 The precocious cool-girl might favor a bright red lip, sure, while the goth girl favors a thick layer of black eyeshadow, but understated eyeliner, mascara, and blush are the usual go-tos. Rachel Lubitz, refinery29.com, "Lip Tattoos & Rhinestone Eyebrows: Inside The Wildest Makeup On Euphoria," 25 July 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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Statistics for precocious

Last Updated

19 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precocious

The first known use of precocious was in 1650

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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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