[ joo-vuh-nl, -nahyl ]
/ ˈdʒu və nl, -ˌnaɪl /
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Origin of juvenile

First recorded in 1615–25; from Latin juvenīlis “youthful,” equivalent to juven(is) “youthful” + -īlis adjective suffix; see -ile

synonym study for juvenile

1. See young.


ju·ve·nile·ly, adverbpre·ju·ve·nile, adjectiveun·ju·ve·nile, adjective


jejune, juvenile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does juvenile mean?

Juvenile describes something that is related to youth or young people.

Generally, juvenile is used to describe something that has to do with children, as in Sam folded the juvenile clothing before he folded the baby clothing. 

Juvenile can also describe something that is related to youth or being young, as in Now in her 80s, Hannah looked back fondly on her juvenile years. 

Juvenile can also be used to describe something that is related to youth in a negative way, such as being immature or naive, as in Drawing on the walls is juvenile behavior that most parents won’t tolerate. 

As a noun, juvenile is a young person, as in The lost driver got directions from the friendly juvenile on the corner. 

Jejune is a synonym for juvenile in the sense of something childish or immature. But jejune can also describe something that is bland or uninspiring, as in He wrote a jejune story about making eggs for breakfast.

Example: The author wrote juvenile fiction that was incredibly popular with the country’s children.

Where does juvenile come from?

The first records of juvenile come from around 1615. It comes from the Latin juvenīlis, meaning “youthful.” Often, juvenile is used to mean something that is related to young people or reminds you of youth.

There are lots of words to describe children of various ages. A baby is generally a year old or younger and a preschooler is no more than 5-years-old, while an adolescent or a teenager is often aged 13 to 19. A juvenile, however, can describe any of these ages.

The word juvenile is often used when discussing children who break the law. A juvenile delinquent is a criminal who is a minor, usually younger than 18 years old. Minors are children who are tried in a juvenile court and are sentenced to a juvenile detention center.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to juvenile?

  • juvenilely (adverb)
  • juvenileness (noun)
  • prejuvenile (adjective)
  • unjuvenile (adjective)

What are some synonyms for juvenile?

What are some words that share a root or word element with juvenile

What are some words that often get used in discussing juvenile?

What are some words juvenile may be commonly confused with?

How is juvenile used in real life?

Juvenile is used to refer to children or things related to children. The negative sense is especially common.

Try using juvenile!

Which of the following words is a synonym of juvenile?

A. mature
B. youthful
C. experienced
D. older

How to use juvenile in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for juvenile

/ (ˈdʒuːvɪˌnaɪl) /



Derived forms of juvenile

juvenilely, adverbjuvenileness, noun

Word Origin for juvenile

C17: from Latin juvenīlis youthful, from juvenis young
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