the period or age at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction of offspring: in common law, presumed to be 14 years in the male and 12 years in the female.

Origin of puberty

1350–1400; Middle English puberte < Latin pūbertās adulthood, equivalent to pūber-, stem of pūbēs grown-up + -tās -ty2
Related formspost·pu·ber·ty, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for puberty

Historical Examples of puberty

  • Puberty is produced by certain phenomena which occur in the sexual organs.

  • Puberty is the proper time for the appearance of menstruation.


    Henry Stanton

  • Puberty is the most wonderful, the most significant period in a girl's life.


    William J. Robinson

  • Another of the dances that is still kept up is the Puberty Dance.

    The Lake of the Sky

    George Wharton James

  • Puberty is the proper time for the appearance of menstruation, one of the most important and sacred of her functions.

    Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects

    Henry Newell Guernsey

British Dictionary definitions for puberty



the period at the beginning of adolescence when the sex glands become functional and the secondary sexual characteristics emergeAlso called: pubescence Related adjective: hebetic
Derived Formspubertal, adjective

Word Origin for puberty

C14: from Latin pūbertās maturity, 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 puberty

"the time of life in which the two sexes begin first to be acquainted" [Johnson], late 14c., from Old French puberté and directly from Latin pubertatem (nominative pubertas) "age of maturity, manhood," from pubes (genitive pubertis) "adult, full-grown, manly." Related: Puberal; pubertal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

puberty in Medicine




The stage of adolescence in which an individual becomes physiologically capable of sexual reproduction.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

puberty in Science



The stage in the development of humans and other primates marked by the development of secondary sex characteristics, including menarche in females. In humans, puberty occurs at the onset of adolescence, between the ages of about 11 and 14 in girls and 13 and 16 in boys.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.