pu·​er·​ile | \ˈpyu̇(-ə)r-əl, -ˌī(-ə)l\

Definition of puerile 

1 : juvenile

2 : childish, silly puerile remarks

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Other Words from puerile

puerilely \ˈpyu̇(-​ə)r-​ə(l)-​lē, -​ˌī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
puerility \ˌpyu̇(-​ə)r-​ˈi-​lə-​tē \ noun

Did You Know?

Puerile may call to mind qualities of youth and immaturity, but the term itself is no spring chicken. On the contrary, it's been around for more than three centuries, and its predecessors in French and Latin, the adjectives puéril and puerilis, respectively, are far older. Those two terms have the same basic meaning as the English word puerile, and they both trace to the Latin noun puer, meaning "boy" or "child." Nowadays, puerile can describe the acts or utterances of an actual child, but it more often refers (usually with marked disapproval) to occurrences of childishness where adult maturity would be expected or preferred.

Examples of puerile in a Sentence

told the teenagers that such puerile behavior would not be tolerated during the ceremony allowed the company to be taken over by a bunch of puerile whippersnappers fresh out of business school

Recent Examples on the Web

Marvel’s sketches for the film were less puerile but wholly impressionistic, and so Carter began her customary deep dive. Rob Haskell, WSJ, "In ‘Black Panther,’ Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter Found a Career-Defining Challenge," 1 Nov. 2018 But no public figure would go further than that, given the genre’s reputation for being puerile and pulpy. Craig Fehrman, New York Times, "The Mystery Buffs in the White House," 23 May 2018 Her job here is to eye-roll at the puerile antics and then to cue the audience’s warm, fuzzy feeling about these allegedly lovable lunkheads. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Tag' review: Don't these guys have anything else to do?," 14 June 2018 Platter's line is thick and insistent but wasted on empty scrawls, unremarkable shapes and puerile phrases. Leah Ollman, latimes.com, "Marvelous or maddening? In Cameron Platter's show, it depends on which way you face," 4 June 2018 The official rationale for the House GOP plan is not, of course, to help the president realize a puerile dream. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "House Republicans Working to Give Trump His Military Parade," 4 May 2018 The search engine on the firm’s website started offering customers puerile responses to their inquiries. The Economist, "A startup in Paris is scaling up unusually fast," 3 May 2018 This, amid another example of the puerile behavior that too many Flyers fans are too happy to exhibit. Mike Sielski, Philly.com, "Sidney Crosby once again leaves the Flyers and their fans all wet | Mike Sielski," 16 Apr. 2018 Practiced puerile partisanship that would embarrass a teenager? Jim Braude, BostonGlobe.com, "Let 16-year-olds vote. They might take it more seriously than their elders," 14 Mar. 2018

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

1527, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for puerile

French or Latin; French puéril, from Latin puerilis, from puer boy, child; akin to Sanskrit putra son, child and perhaps to Greek pais boy, child — more at few

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Statistics for puerile

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for puerile

The first known use of puerile was in 1527

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More Definitions for puerile



English Language Learners Definition of puerile

: silly or childish especially in a way that shows a lack of seriousness or good judgment


pu·​er·​ile | \ˈpyu̇(-ə)r-əl, -ˌīl \

Medical Definition of puerile 

1 : marked by or suggesting childishness and immaturity

2 : being respiration that is like that of a child in being louder than normal puerile breathing

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More from Merriam-Webster on puerile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with puerile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puerile

Spanish Central: Translation of puerile

Nglish: Translation of puerile for Spanish Speakers

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