precocious

adjective
pre·​co·​cious | \pri-ˈkō-shəs \

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 \ 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

Kyle Whalen's Johnse and Haley Bolithon's Rose Anna are styled, a la Romeo and Juliet, as playful, sweetly precocious teens. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "In Hatfield & McCoy, House Theatre takes liberties with the legendary mountain feud," 30 Jan. 2018 Foden, who recently celebrated his 18th birthday, is regarded as one of the most exciting talents to ever emerge from City's academy, earning him recognition as one of the most precocious talents of his generation. SI.com, "Man City Preparing to Offer Prodigious Young Talent Phil Foden New Long-Term Contract," 30 May 2018 Both Krasinski and Blunt attribute much of the movie’s success to those actors’ precocious talents. Eliza Berman, Time, "John Krasinski and Emily Blunt on," 5 Apr. 2018 The path has taken plenty of twists and turns since the day in April 2015 when a little-known, precocious teen rock band from Frankenmuth walked into Royal Oak’s Rustbelt Studios hoping to cut some tracks. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Young and hungry, Greta Van Fleet returns to Detroit as a rock-conquering hero," 20 May 2018 Now a rowdy and precocious seven-year-old, Ahmed moves like a blur, kicking his new soccer ball in the kitchen, down the hallway. Dina Kraft, The Christian Science Monitor, "Into dark cycle of Mideast revenge, this group tries to bring light," 28 June 2018 Both had been precocious children of immigrant Jewish families with business-minded fathers who kept skeptical tabs on their early artistic careers. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "Tanglewood opens with Bernstein’s exuberance, Lang Lang’s return," 8 July 2018 Williams plays the badass Arya Stark, a character who goes from a precocious kid from Winterfell to a killing machine. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "The Game of Thrones Cast Is Saying Goodbye to The Show, and We Can't Take It," 7 July 2018 The precocious 19-year-old sent France ahead with a powerful shot from the left side of the goal after picking up a loose ball and creating a yard of space with an intelligent touch. SI.com, "Twitter Erupts as France Dump Lionel Messi & Argentina Out of 2018 World Cup," 30 June 2018

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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Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

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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 \

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 \

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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