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

Across town, Maya Zabari, a precocious Stuyvesant graduate, was just ready to get in an Uber and go. Aaron Randle, New York Times, "So Many Graduations. So Many Emotions.," 5 July 2019 The sheen on his forehead and the mottling of youthful stubble show off a precocious mastery of realist oil painting. Samuel Reilly, 1843, "Enigmatic and erotic: the art of Félix Vallotton," 3 July 2019 That may not seem particularly precocious in an era when adolescent pop phenoms release entire albums that were recorded in their parents’ house. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "On the Road with Mitski," 1 July 2019 Lily James was a precocious pixie in a pinafore number by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry. Vogue, "Last Week, Stars Found Fresh Options For Day and Night," 24 June 2019 Both men let the precocious teen back them up at all-night country dances, where Monroe first saw the music’s communal force. Eddie Dean, WSJ, "‘Bill Monroe’ and ‘Blue Grass Generation’ Review: The Blue Grass Boy," 27 Sep. 2018 Remembering when 'Rushmore' filmed in Houston Featuring Jason Schwartzman as the precocious high schooler Max Fischer, the 1998 film is a first glance at Anderson's quirky directorial style. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Remembering Houston's iconic film 'Rushmore' as it turns 21 years old," 20 June 2019 Rodney Small is just 4-years-old, but the precocious little one is already versed on plane etiquette and knows no one should have their feet up on another passenger’s armrest. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Adorable 4-Year-Old Gathers Plane Passenger Who Put Her 'Stinky Feet' On His Armrest," 7 June 2019 Other glimpses of her childhood in archival footage show her as a precocious adolescent, nerdy and curious. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Knock Down the House Reminds Us that AOC's Triumph Almost Wasn't," 3 May 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

8 Jul 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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