[pree-muh-choo r, -too r, -tyoo r, pree-muh-choo r or, esp. British, prem-uh-, prem-uh-]


occurring, coming, or done too soon: a premature announcement.
mature or ripe before the proper time.


a premature infant.

Origin of premature

From the Latin word praemātūrus, dating back to 1520–30. See pre-, mature
Related formspre·ma·ture·ly, adverbpre·ma·tu·ri·ty, pre·ma·ture·ness, nounun·pre·ma·ture, adjectiveun·pre·ma·ture·ly, adverbun·pre·ma·ture·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for premature

Contemporary Examples of premature

Historical Examples of premature

  • Premature success might only make matters more difficult for him.

    Starman's Quest

    Robert Silverberg

  • Premature playing at passion had been sport with edged tools.

    Hopes and Fears

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Premature burial is said to be very common, among the Moors.

    Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2)

    A Sexton of the Old School

  • Premature it possibly was, but none the less perfectly natural.

    William Lloyd Garrison

    Archibald H. Grimke

  • Premature despair and the deepest discouragement have been my constant portion.

    Amiel's Journal

    Henri-Frdric Amiel

British Dictionary definitions for premature



occurring or existing before the normal or expected time
impulsive or hastya premature judgment
(of an infant) weighing less than 2500 g (5 1/2 lbs) and usually born before the end of the full period of gestation
Derived Formsprematurely, adverbprematureness or prematurity, noun

Word Origin for premature

C16: from Latin praemātūrus, very early, from prae in advance + mātūrus ripe
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 premature

mid-15c., from Latin praematurus "early ripe" (as fruit), "too early, untimely," from prae "before" (see pre-) + maturus "ripe, timely" (see mature (v.)). Related: Prematurely; prematurity; prematuration. Premature ejaculation is attested from 1848; Latin euphemism ejaculatio praecox dates to 1891 in English but was used earlier in German and appears to have been, at first at least, the psychologist's term for it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for premature


[prē′mə-chur, -tur]


Occurring or developing before the usual or expected time.
Born after a gestation period of less than the normal time, especially, in human infants, after a period of less than 37 weeks.
Related formspre′ma•turi•ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.