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[ad-l-es-uh ns] /ˌæd lˈɛs əns/
the transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of majority is reached; youth.
the process or state of growing to maturity.
a period or stage of development, as of a society, preceding maturity.
Origin of adolescence
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin adolēscentia. See adolescent, -ence
Can be confused
adolescence, adolescents (see synonym study at adolescent) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for adolescence
  • Geographic is a fascinating exploration of the science illuminating how the brain's neuronal wiring evolves as adolescence crests.
  • Mine has been a wide variety of colors, mostly during my adolescence.
  • Her adolescence was punctuated by a few run-ins with the law.
  • Have students ask adults for examples of slang words they used in their adolescence.
  • Fat cells in males also do not tend to multiply after adolescence.
  • Newsroom layoffs have become increasingly common as the newspaper industry learns to cope with its awkward online adolescence.
  • Yet our whole modern understanding of adolescence is there to be found in this play.
  • From adolescence to high school to college, the technology literally becomes almost this great equalizer.
  • More fundamentally, the structure of representative government keeps citizens in civic adolescence.
  • Even the physical city seems to be undergoing a kind of defiant adolescence.
British Dictionary definitions for adolescence


the period in human development that occurs between the beginning of puberty and adulthood
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin adolēscentia, from adolēscere to grow up, from alēscere to grow, from alēre to feed, nourish
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
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Word Origin and History for adolescence

"age following childhood" (especially the period from the 15th to the 21st year), early 15c., from Middle French adolescence (14c.), from Latin adolescentia "youth," noun of state from adolescentem (see adolescent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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adolescence in Medicine

adolescence ad·o·les·cence (ād'l-ěs'əns)
The period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to complete growth and maturity.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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adolescence in Science
The period of physical and psychological development from puberty to the onset of adulthood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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