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[pyoo-ber-tee] /ˈpyu bər ti/
the period or age at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction of offspring: in common law, presumed to be 14 years in the male and 12 years in the female.
Origin of puberty
1350-1400; Middle English puberte < Latin pūbertās adulthood, equivalent to pūber-, stem of pūbēs grown-up + -tās -ty2
Related forms
postpuberty, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for puberty
Historical Examples
  • puberty is produced by certain phenomena which occur in the sexual organs.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • puberty is the proper time for the appearance of menstruation.

    Sex Henry Stanton
  • puberty is the most wonderful, the most significant period in a girl's life.


    William J. Robinson
  • Another of the dances that is still kept up is the puberty Dance.

    The Lake of the Sky George Wharton James
  • puberty is the proper time for the appearance of menstruation, one of the most important and sacred of her functions.

    Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects Henry Newell Guernsey
  • puberty immediately succeeds childhood and attends us to the end of our days.

    Buffon's Natural History. Volume IV (of 10) Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon
  • puberty is a name given to the age at which a boy becomes capable of being a father.

    Youth and Sex

    Mary Scharlieb and F. Arthur Sibly
  • puberty, pū′bėr-ti, n. the age of full development: early manhood or womanhood: the period when a plant begins to flower.

  • puberty forms the bound between the first and second; marriage that between the second and third.


    John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
  • puberty and the approach of senility are pointed out as times when genesiac symptoms manifest themselves.

    A Problem in Modern Ethics John Addington Symonds
British Dictionary definitions for puberty


the period at the beginning of adolescence when the sex glands become functional and the secondary sexual characteristics emerge Also called pubescence, related adjective hebetic
Derived Forms
pubertal, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin pūbertās maturity, from pūber adult
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
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Word Origin and History for puberty

"the time of life in which the two sexes begin first to be acquainted" [Johnson], late 14c., from Old French puberté and directly from Latin pubertatem (nominative pubertas) "age of maturity, manhood," from pubes (genitive pubertis) "adult, full-grown, manly." Related: Puberal; pubertal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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puberty in Medicine

puberty pu·ber·ty (pyōō'bər-tē)
The stage of adolescence in which an individual becomes physiologically capable of sexual reproduction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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puberty in Science
The stage in the development of humans and other primates marked by the development of secondary sex characteristics, including menarche in females. In humans, puberty occurs at the onset of adolescence, between the ages of about 11 and 14 in girls and 13 and 16 in boys.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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