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 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 Kalscheur had a precocious freshman season last year, but also had similar hot and cold moments. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "When Gabe Kalscheur rocks out, he makes sweet music for Gophers men’s basketball," 27 Dec. 2019 The Patient: Lucy Branson, now 4, a precocious preschooler with a fondness for any sort of doll. Markian Hawryluk, azcentral, "Nothing to sneeze at: $2,659 bill to pluck doll’s shoe from child’s nostril," 27 Nov. 2019 The Patient: Lucy Branson, now 4, a precocious preschooler with a fondness for any sort of doll. Markian Hawryluk, PEOPLE.com, "Parents Get $2,659 Emergency Room Bill for Doctor to Pluck Doll's Shoe from Daughter's Nostril," 27 Nov. 2019 Since his arrival though, the former Olympiacos boss' handling of his precocious talent has been arrogant and ill-conceived. SI.com, "Marco Silva's Bizarre Moise Kean Comments Sum Up His Poor Management of Everton Football Club," 2 Nov. 2019 As Erin Rodriguez began looking for more outlets for her precocious boy, he was given a Scrabble Jr. game. Ashley Mcbride, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio boy, 10, to compete in Scrabble world championship in Malaysia," 28 Nov. 2019 Historically, puberty blockers have been used to treat cisgender (non-transgender) children diagnosed with precocious, or early, puberty. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "GOP lawmakers in three states want to ban trans health care for minors," 1 Nov. 2019 What is a Cold War, the show seems to say, to a group of precocious, wiseass kids? Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "The New Season of “Stranger Things” Shows the Limits of Kids Saving the World," 9 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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Time Traveler for precocious

Time Traveler

The first known use of precocious was in 1650

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Precocious.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/precocity. Accessed 19 January 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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