puberty

noun
pu·​ber·​ty | \ ˈpyü-bər-tē \

Definition of puberty 

1 : the condition of being or the period of becoming first capable of reproducing sexually that is brought on by the production of sex hormones and the maturing of the reproductive organs (such as the testes and ovaries), development of secondary sex characteristics (such as male facial hair growth and female breast development), and in humans and the higher primates by the first occurrence of menstruation in the female
2 : the age at which puberty occurs often construed legally as 14 in boys and 12 in girls

Examples of puberty in a Sentence

He reached puberty later than most of his classmates.

Recent Examples on the Web

Researchers observed that others who had heavy bouts of acne during puberty had recurrences. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "More effective than condoms? Seattle-area couples test new birth control for men," 11 Dec. 2018 Distress over the mind-body mismatch can become especially intense around puberty, and the risk of suicide shoots up for young people in this situation. Denise Grady, The Seattle Times, "Anatomy does not determine gender, experts say," 22 Oct. 2018 At its core, Big Mouth is just the simple and straightforward story of how living through puberty is an absolute nightmare. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "How Big Mouth season 2 turns the horrors of puberty into sweet, nuanced comedy," 5 Oct. 2018 Because kids' hair goes through so many changes from birth to puberty, Dr. Shah warns that their hair — and skin, for that matter — are more sensitive and therefore more likely to experience reactions. Sam Escobar, Good Housekeeping, "How Young Is Too Young to Dye Your Kid's Hair?," 15 Oct. 2018 For 15 percent of girls on average, pubic hair is the first noticeable sign that puberty has officially begun. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "5 Things You Never Knew About Pubic Hair," 6 Aug. 2018 There are, of course, timeless elements: Things like puberty, things like, your body’s exploding, your self-awareness is being turned on. Eric Johnson, Recode, "‘Eighth Grade’ director Bo Burnham is happy that a lot of people ‘have no idea who I am’," 30 July 2018 For children, medicine to suppress puberty may be considered, to buy time as the youth grapples with questions of gender identity. Lauran Neergaard, The Seattle Times, "Science Says: Sex and gender aren’t the same," 22 Oct. 2018 In addition to developing fetuses, pregnant women and children going through puberty may also be sensitive to environmental chemicals. Rachael Moeller Gorman, Good Housekeeping, "Is Your Tap Water Safe?," 15 Aug. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puberty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of puberty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for puberty

Middle English puberte, from Latin pubertas, from puber pubescent

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puberty

Dictionary Entries near puberty

pub crawl

pube

pubertal

puberty

puberulent

puberulous

pubes

Statistics for puberty

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puberty

The first known use of puberty was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for puberty

puberty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of puberty

: the period of life when a person's sexual organs mature and he or she becomes able to have children

puberty

noun
pu·​ber·​ty | \ ˈpyü-bər-tē \

Kids Definition of puberty

: the age at or period during which the body of a boy or girl matures and becomes capable of reproducing

puberty

noun
pu·​ber·​ty | \ ˈpyü-bərt-ē \
plural puberties

Medical Definition of puberty 

1 : the condition of being or the period of becoming first capable of reproducing sexually marked by maturing of the genital organs, development of secondary sex characteristics, and in humans and the higher primates by the first occurrence of menstruation in the female
2 : the age at which puberty occurs being typically between 13 and 16 years in boys and 11 and 14 in girls and often construed legally as 14 in boys and 12 in girls

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on puberty

Spanish Central: Translation of puberty

Nglish: Translation of puberty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puberty for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about puberty

Comments on puberty

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

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by shyness and lack of polish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!