pu·​er·​ile | \ ˈpyu̇(-ə)r-əl How to pronounce puerile (audio) , -ˌī(-ə)l \

Definition of puerile

1 : juvenile
2 : childish, silly puerile remarks

Other Words from puerile

puerilely \ ˈpyu̇(-​ə)r-​ə(l)-​lē How to pronounce puerile (audio) , -​ˌī(-​ə)l-​lē \ adverb
puerility \ ˌpyu̇(-​ə)r-​ˈi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce puerile (audio) \ 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 The decades-spanning but threadbare narrative begins, with what turns out to be a certain puerile appropriateness, in the year 2069, as the elderly King Alfredo of Portugal (Joel Branco) withers away on an austere deathbed in his cavernous palace. Guy Lodge, Variety, 4 June 2022 These actors may dispense miracle cures on television, but beneath the gleaming smiles and spotless white coats is a raging fire of high school politics, power trips and puerile shenanigans. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 30 Mar. 2022 But there’s something puerile about seeing all these male nubbins. Raven Smith, Vogue, 26 Jan. 2022 Bergman Island treats Ingmar Bergman’s oeuvre with a level of pretense not seen since Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy did their puerile versions of Eric Rohmer in their Sunset/Sunrise trilogy of heterosexual squabbling. Armond White, National Review, 13 Oct. 2021 Such exercises are pseudoacademic, puerile and transparently manipulative. WSJ, 7 Oct. 2021 To make matters worse, the lyrics are astonishingly puerile. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 1 Oct. 2021 Tanya feels like a fuller version of other characters that Coolidge has played — washed-up and spaced out, simultaneously puerile and battered — but with backstory enough to justify her sadness. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 25 July 2021 The puerile sense of humor gave way to more sophisticated jokes, ones that work for children and adults. Gieson Cacho Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, 30 June 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of puerile was in 1527

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“Puerile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puerile. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for puerile


pu·​er·​ile | \ ˈpyu̇(-ə)r-əl, -ˌīl How to pronounce puerile (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on puerile

Nglish: Translation of puerile for Spanish Speakers


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