pre·ma·ture | \ˌprē-mə-ˈtyu̇r, -ˈtu̇r, -ˈchu̇r also ˌpre- \

Definition of premature 

: happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper, usual, or intended time especially : born after a gestation period of less than 37 weeks premature babies

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Other Words from premature

premature noun
prematurely adverb
prematureness noun
prematurity \ˌprē-mə-ˈtyu̇r-ə-tē, -ˈtu̇r-, -ˈchu̇r- \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for premature


early, inopportune, precocious, unseasonable, untimely



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Examples of premature in a Sentence

Her premature death at age 30 stunned her family and friends. Too much exposure to the sun can cause the premature aging of skin.

Recent Examples on the Web

Their World Cup run looked to be coming to a premature end after falling two goals behind to Japan but Roberto Martinez was able to inspire a spectacular comeback to win the match 3-2., "World Cup Preview: France vs Belgium - Recent Form, Classic Encounter, Predictions & More," 9 July 2018 But that might be of little consolation to the players who have had to endure premature ends to their seasons. Edward Lee,, "Navy men’s lacrosse coach Rick Sowell: Failing to reach Patriot League title game is ‘going to stick in our craw’," 5 June 2018 Less than two years ago, the man who will become Spain's new prime minister was staring at the premature end of an unremarkable political career. Joseph Wilson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Spain's new leader Pedro Sanchez promises an end to corruption," 1 June 2018 The Cincinnati Zoo's globally famous premature hippo does more than help sell T-shirts, bobbleheads and ice cream. Dan Sewell, The Seattle Times, "Fiona, Cincinnati zoo’s famous preemie hippo, becomes a force for teaching kids," 2 July 2018 Also, after waiting until March 6 to sign a free-agent contract with the Kansas City Royals, Jay, 33, realizes that careers of professional athletes often have premature expiration dates. Harvey Fialkov, azcentral, "Arizona Diamondbacks' Jon Jay, despite current slump, feels right at home in Miami," 28 June 2018 The hospital’s highest ranking is in neonatology, the care of newborn babies who are born premature or who are born at term but have infections, heart disease or other health complications. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "UC Davis, Shriners ranked among nation's top hospitals for children in annual report," 28 June 2018 The unit serves about 400 babies each year that are born sick or very premature. Libby Solomon,, "Comfort and kangaroo care in GBMC's renovated NICU," 13 June 2018 She was born premature and sickly to a poor black family in the Jim CrowSouth in 1940. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'premature.' 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 premature

circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for premature

Latin praematurus too early, from prae- + maturus ripe, mature

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Statistics for premature

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for premature

The first known use of premature was circa 1529

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More Definitions for premature



English Language Learners Definition of premature

: happening too soon or earlier than usual

: born before the normal time


pre·ma·ture | \ˌprē-mə-ˈtu̇r, -ˈtyu̇r, -ˈchu̇r\

Kids Definition of premature

: happening, coming, or done before the usual or proper time : too early a premature decision premature infants

Other Words from premature

prematurely adverb


pre·ma·ture | \-mə-ˈt(y)u̇(ə)r, -ˈchu̇(ə)r, chiefly British ˌprem-ə-\

Medical Definition of premature 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper, usual, or intended time premature puberty premature aging especially : born after a gestation period of less than 37 weeks premature babies

Other Words from premature

prematurely adverb



Medical Definition of premature (Entry 2 of 2)

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Comments on premature

What made you want to look up premature? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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