• synonyms


[pyoo-bes-uh nt]
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  1. arriving or arrived at puberty.
  2. Botany, Zoology. covered with down or fine short hair.

Origin of pubescent

1640–50; < Latin pūbēscent- (stem of pūbēscēns), present participle of pūbēscere to attain puberty, reach puberty, become hairy or downy. See pubes1, -escent
Related formspu·bes·cence, pu·bes·cen·cy, nounsub·pu·bes·cent, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for pubescence


  1. arriving or having arrived at puberty
  2. (of certain plants and animals or their parts) covered with a layer of fine short hairs or down
Derived Formspubescence, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Latin pūbēscere to reach manhood, 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

Word Origin and History for pubescence


early 15c., Middle French pubescence, from Medieval Latin pubescentia, noun of state from Latin pubescentem (nominative pubescens), present participle of pubescere "grow up; ripen, come to maturity; reach the age of puberty, arrive at puberty," from pubes "adult, full-grown" (see puberty).



1610s, a back-formation from pubescence, or else from French pubescent (early 16c.) or directly from Latin pubescentem (nominative pubescens), present participle of pubescere "to reach puberty" (see pubescence).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pubescence in Medicine


  1. The state of being pubescent.
  2. The attainment or onset of puberty.
  3. The presence of downy or fine short hair.


  1. Reaching or having reached puberty.
  2. Covered with fine short hairs.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.