[pri-koh-shuh s]


unusually advanced or mature in development, especially mental development: a precocious child.
prematurely developed, as the mind, faculties, etc.
of or relating to premature development.
  1. flowering, fruiting, or ripening early, as plants or fruit.
  2. bearing blossoms before leaves, as plants.
  3. appearing before leaves, as flowers.

Origin of precocious

1640–50; Latin praecoci-, stem of praecox (see precocity) + -ous
Related formspre·co·cious·ly, adverbpre·co·cious·ness, nounun·pre·co·cious, adjectiveun·pre·co·cious·ly, adverbun·pre·co·cious·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precocious

Contemporary Examples of precocious

Historical Examples of precocious

  • As for that precocious damsel, she would run no least risk of destruction by the satyr.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Many of our greatest divines have been anything but precocious.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Of precocious nature, she endured her martyrdom with extraordinary fortitude.

  • Her mother tried to frighten her; but the child was too precocious.


    Emile Zola

  • Henry was still in bed, but awake and reading Smiles with precocious gusto.

    A Great Man

    Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for precocious



ahead in development, such as the mental development of a child
botany (of plants, fruit, etc) flowering or ripening early
Derived Formsprecociously, adverbprecociousness or precocity (prɪˈkɒsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for precocious

C17: from Latin praecox early maturing, from prae early + coquere to ripen
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 precocious

1640s, "developed before the usual time" (of plants), with -ous + Latin praecox (genitive praecocis) "maturing early," from prae "before" (see pre-) + coquere "to ripen," literally "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Originally of flowers or fruits. Figurative use, of persons, dates from 1670s. Related: Precociously; precociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

precocious in Medicine




Showing unusually early development or maturity.
Related formspre•cocity (-kŏsĭ-tē) null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

precocious in Science



Relating to or having flowers that blossom before the leaves emerge. Some species of magnolias are precocious.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.