[pyoo-er-il, -uh-rahyl, pyoor-il, -ahyl]


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 formspu·er·ile·ly, adverbnon·pu·er·ile, adjectivenon·pu·er·ile·ly, adverb

Synonyms for puerile

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for puerile

Contemporary Examples of puerile

Historical Examples of puerile

  • Their falsehoods were puerile, their affirmations ridiculous.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • He only issued from his torpor at night to fall into blind and puerile fits of anger.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • The ideal is as impracticable as it is puerile and retrograde.

  • We are too absorbed in the puerile interests and occupations of daily life.

    The Golden Fountain

    Lilian Staveley

  • The officers took, as usual, a puerile revenge in the form of a burlesque.

British Dictionary definitions for puerile



exhibiting silliness; immature; trivial
of or characteristic of a child
Derived Formspuerilely, adverbpuerility (pjʊəˈrɪlɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for puerile

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

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