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

The development of breast buds is usually the first sign of puberty in girls and starts, on average, at age 10. Philly.com, "Early puberty may spark long-term mental-health problems for girls," 23 Apr. 2018 Moreover, puberty involves unpredictable changes such as breast development, mood swings and periods—and there are few things that autistic people hate more than change that occurs without warning. Maia Szalavitz, Scientific American, "Autism—It's Different in Girls," 1 Mar. 2016 Most women, including elite athletes, have natural testosterone levels of .12 to 1.79 nanomoles per liter, the I.A.A.F. said, while the typical male range after puberty is much higher, at 7.7 to 29.4 nanomoles per liter. Jeré Longman, New York Times, "Did Flawed Data Lead Track Astray on Testosterone in Women?," 12 July 2018 On Tuesday, Winkfield told reporters that her daughter developed like normal while on life support, going through puberty like a typical teenager. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Jahi McMath's mother says she has 'no regrets' for keeping daughter on ventilator for years," 3 July 2018 Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine that often develops just before puberty, according to the Mayo Clinic, but people of all ages can have it. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Scoliosis? Princess Eugenie Just Opened Up About Her Spinal Condition," 2 July 2018 The two cases had similarities: Both girls were blonde, just entering puberty, and had ridden their bikes to a park. King-tv, USA TODAY, "DNA on napkin leads to charges in 32-year-old cold case," 23 June 2018 Maybe because all these changes happen at the same time — the hormonal and physical changes of puberty, going to different schools, social and peer pressures, increased self-awareness and awareness of the future, all the changes in the brain. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Her quest to understand the teenage brain," 12 July 2018 As a 12-year-old girl, Phoenix Moncada was petrified and confused by the physical changes of puberty – and resorted to cutting, or self-mutilation, over and over again. Samantha Young, sacbee, "Should ‘gender-affirming health care’ be on the radar for California’s foster kids?," 2 July 2018

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near puberty

pub crawl

pube

pubertal

puberty

puberulent

puberulous

pubes

Statistics for puberty

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for puberty

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

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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

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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

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