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

This came on the heels of last week’s social media nightmare, featuring YouTube serving pedophiles videos of preteens in bathing suits. Jeff Berman, Vox, "Big Tech needs regulation, but DC must go to school before it goes to work," 14 June 2019 Surveys show that four out of five American preteens use some form of social media, with YouTube being the most popular but Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat also widely used — even though all four services officially prohibit users younger than 13. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "Sex, drugs, and self-harm: Where 20 years of child online protection law went wrong," 13 June 2019 Those superfans who were preteens when the band first blossomed? Jason Gay, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jonas Brothers: From Pop Stars to Rock Stars," 6 June 2019 Simon Cowell helped the preteen take it a step further. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'AGT': Simon Cowell helps cancer survivor, 11, send message to bullies with golden buzzer," 11 June 2019 Her new memoir tells the story of her journey from a preteen busker in Buffalo, N.Y., to a record label founder and owner — and bona fide rock star on her own terms. Michael Schaub,, "Last minute Father’s Day gifts for 7 different kinds of book-loving dads," 11 June 2019 Doctors find a surprising cause for a preteen’s stomach pain and high blood pressure. Amitha Kalaichandran, Discover Magazine, "There's a Far More Complex Condition Lurking Behind One Girl's High Blood Pressure," 16 May 2019 By now, even a preteen scrawling a swastika on a school bench probably does so with a degree of media-knowingness. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "How the News Became Fake," 25 Jan. 2019 Of course, working around real preteens upped the verisimilitude. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Creators of PEN15 Present Their Hilarious, Oddly Harrowing New Show," 26 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Katla soon finds a suitable husband (Valdimar Orn Flygenring, a bit wooden and hardly up to the level of his co-stars), but his preteen son (Geirlaug Sunna Pormar) longs for his deceased birth mother and has no interest in his father’s new love. Michael Phillips,, "‘The Juniper Tree’ review: When the Brothers Grimm traveled to Iceland, with Bjork," 10 July 2019 Outside, ATVs commanded by preteen boys in cowboy hats occupy parking spaces beside full-sized pickups. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 German filmmaker Viktor Jakovleski follows one family in particular, looking at the cottage industry, culture and festival through the eyes of their preteen son, Santiago. Lorraine Ali,, "Review: 'Brimstone & Glory' looks at a small town in Mexico where fireworks are made," 1 July 2018 The artist from Austin, Texas, has her first exhibition in L.A. at the Luis De Jesus gallery, and the collage and text works explore preteen awkwardness and the syncretic nature of black female identity. Sharon Mizota,, "Deborah Roberts' powerful statement of black female identity," 29 May 2018 When Joie Manda was 12 years old, Mongoose bicycles were all the rage among his preteen friends in Brooklyn -- for everyone but him. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Interscope EVP Joie Manda Makes a Case for Major Labels & Why It's the 'Strongest Time Ever for Female Rap'," 16 Feb. 2018 Go because Meg Murry is still the ultimate hero for an entire generation of preteen girls. Emma Krupp, RedEye Chicago, "Your winter movie preview: 30 reasons to go to a show," 10 Jan. 2018 The do-gooder shtick may explain his wide appeal to preteen boys and their parents alike. Dan Hyman, New York Times, "John Cena Grants a Wish Before His Wrestling Match," 5 Apr. 2018 Rin, the director’s preteen daughter, survives, vowing revenge on the men who killed her family. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Foreign / On Video You probably missed Blade of the Immortal when it played here, but now you can catch it on DVD and BluRay," 9 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for preteen

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for preteen

The first known use of preteen was in 1929

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More Definitions for preteen



English Language Learners Definition of preteen

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preteen

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