pre·​teen | \ ˈprē-ˈtēn How to pronounce preteen (audio) , -ˌtēn \

Definition of preteen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a boy or girl not yet 13 years old



Definition of preteen (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : relating to or produced for children especially in the 9 to 12 year-old age group preteen fashions
2 : being younger than 13

Examples of preteen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Kim, who came to the U.S. as a preteen with her family from Seoul, South Korea, was the first Korean American Republican in the California State Assembly. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Democrat Gil Cisneros faces tough rematch in California congressional race," 18 Sep. 2020 Her personal experiences shaped the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl who joins a preteen dance group. Washington Post, "‘Cuties’ sparked outrage in the U.S. The reception in Senegal was vastly different.," 16 Sep. 2020 The accompanying description noted that the preteen troupe in question twerked. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "How Cuties Got Caught in a Gamergate-Style Internet Clash," 15 Sep. 2020 As a preteen, when my female classmates were swooning over heartthrobs like Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett, my attention turned to impossibly cool actresses like Kristy McNichol and Lindsay Wagner. Susan Phillips, Good Housekeeping, "After Being Married to My Husband for Five Years, I Decided to Come Out," 27 Aug. 2020 Young people in the preteen age group are old enough to understand the ramifications that something bad might happen to them or their family. Michaela Chesin, The Arizona Republic, "'I'm sad all day': How tweens see life under quarantine, without friends or school," 31 Aug. 2020 There may be a solution, claims one Facebook advertisement, in the form of a device created by an ingenious preteen. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Video promoting WiFi device fabricates inventor's story, exaggerates its uses," 10 Nov. 2016 Jones acted in the Homewood-Flossmoor Summer Theatre program as a preteen. Janice Neumann,, "Recent H-F grad earns third straight nomination for best actress in Illinois," 28 Aug. 2020 That suggestion was extremely harmful to Harrison as a Black preteen. Lee Ann Kim, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Someone San Diego Should Know: Jordan Harrison," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Playing and watching team sports were the twin pillars of his preteen existence, and both pursuits were snatched away from him a matter of days. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "During Lockdown, Google Maps Gives My Son a Way Out," 19 May 2020 The incident drew national attention, in part because Block involved his preteen daughter in the ugly episode. Washington Post, "Pittsburgh’s storied newspaper has become a chaotic circus — or worse," 19 Dec. 2019 Eighteen of them, including five preteen children, died in Putnam County, some 80 miles east of Nashville. USA TODAY, "Stolen turtle, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, amazing avalanche survivor: News from around our 50 states," 6 Mar. 2020 An apparent domestic situation at a house in the 2700 block of Oakland Avenue South left two adults and two preteen children dead, according to John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department. Kristi Belcamino, Twin Cities, "Four dead after Sunday morning shooting in South Minneapolis; no suspects sought," 1 Dec. 2019 Shapiro said agents from his office discovered Sullivan’s penchant for viewing images of preteen children during an investigation on a file sharing network. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Retired Air Force general charged with possession of child pornography in Pennsylvania," 6 Nov. 2019 Her family paid a smuggler to get her and her preteen daughter from Honduras to Mexico. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "One month into 'Remain in Mexico,' Nogales struggles to support returned asylum seekers," 12 Feb. 2020 In 2014, two preteen girls lured a classmate into the woods on the pretense of everyday fun, and killed her. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "“Medea” and “Mac Beth” Reflect Modern Tragedies," 3 Feb. 2020 The hit 1970s comedy starred Lavin as a widowed mother and aspiring actress working as a waitress in Phoenix while raising her preteen son, played by Philip. Jodi Guglielmi,, "Alice Star Linda Lavin Mourns Death of TV Son Philip McKeon: 'He Taught Me How to Be a Good Mom'," 11 Dec. 2019

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


1938, in the meaning defined above


1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for preteen

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The first known use of preteen was in 1929

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preteen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce preteen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preteen

: a boy or girl who is 11 or 12 years old

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