Try Our Apps


What does the eggplant emoji really mean?


[ad-l-es-uh nt] /ˌæd lˈɛs ənt/
growing to manhood or womanhood; youthful.
having the characteristics of adolescence or of an adolescent.
an adolescent person.
Origin of adolescent
1475-85; < Latin adolēscent- (stem of adolēscēns growing up, present participle of adolēscere), equivalent to adol(ē)- (see adult) + -ēsc- -esce + -ent- -ent
Related forms
adolescently, adverb
postadolescent, adjective, noun
subadolescent, adjective, noun
Can be confused
adolescence, adolescents (see synonym study at adolescent)
1. immature, young. 3. youth, teenager, minor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for adolescent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The trouble was in his conditioning, started when he was an adolescent.

    The Odyssey of Sam Meecham Charles E. Fritch
  • This then is the duality of my day and my night being: a duality so bitter to an adolescent.

  • I'll admit that the adolescent seems all that at times, but that is only on the surface.

    On the Firing Line in Education Adoniram Judson Ladd
  • It was cub rage, but it was adolescent cub, and it was somehow significant.

    Under the Law Edwina Stanton Babcock
  • She is ingenious, She used to strum ballads to the moon on my adolescent nerves.

    Very Woman

    Remy de Gourmont
British Dictionary definitions for adolescent


of or relating to adolescence
(informal) behaving in an immature way; puerile
an adolescent person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for adolescent

mid-15c., "youth, young man," from Middle French adolescent (15c.) or directly from Latin adolescentem (nominative adolescens) "growing, near maturity, youthful," present participle of adolescere "grow up, come to maturity, ripen," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + alescere "be nourished," hence, "increase, grow up," inchoative of alere "to nourish" (see old). Adolesce was a back-formed verb used early 20c. by H.G. Wells, G.B. Shaw, Louis MacNeice, but it seems not to have taken.


1785, from Latin adolescentem (nominative adolescens) "growing, near maturity, youthful," present participle of adolescere "grow up, come to maturity, ripen" (see adolescent (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
adolescent in Medicine

adolescent ad·o·les·cent (ād'l-ěs'ənt)
Of, relating to, or undergoing adolescence. n.
A young person who has undergone puberty but who has not reached full maturity; a teenager.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for adolescent

Word Value for adolescent

Scrabble Words With Friends