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[pyoo-er-il, -uh-rahyl, pyoo r-il, -ahyl] /ˈpyu ər ɪl, -əˌraɪl, ˈpyʊər ɪl, -aɪl/
of or relating to a child or to childhood.
childishly foolish; immature or trivial:
a puerile piece of writing.
Origin of puerile
1650-60; < Latin puerīlis boyish, equivalent to puer boy + -īlis -ile
Related forms
puerilely, adverb
nonpuerile, adjective
nonpuerilely, adverb
1. youthful, juvenile. 2. juvenile, silly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for puerile
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This puerile feature in a nature which was conspicuously manly had often given rise to comment and conjecture.

    Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • This attempt to divert the conversation was too puerile, and Mrs. Honeychurch resented it.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
  • Fellows shivered, attempted some puerile protest, balked, and stammeringly obeyed his restless and irritated companion.

    Three Thousand Dollars Anna Katharine Green
  • How diminutive and puerile must seem the houses and cities of human fashioning!

    The Log of the Sun William Beebe
  • What he has accomplished makes all my puttering about at what, after all, was pure charity, a puerile sort of service.

    Burned Bridges Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Their falsehoods were puerile, their affirmations ridiculous.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for puerile


exhibiting silliness; immature; trivial
of or characteristic of a child
Derived Forms
puerilely, adverb
puerility (pjʊəˈrɪlɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin puerīlis childish, from puer a boy
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 puerile

1660s, "youthful, boyish," a back-formation from puerility, or else from French puéril (15c.), from Latin puerilis "boyish; childish," from puer "boy, child" (see puerility). Disparaging sense, "juvenile, immature," is from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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