critical period

World English Dictionary
critical period
 
n
psychol a period in a lifetime during which a specific stage of development usually occurs. If it fails to do so, it cannot readily occur afterwards

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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  critical period1
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a time of crisis; a turning point
Main Entry:  critical period2
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  a time in a person's development in which a certain skill or characterized would be most readily acquired
Usage:  psychology
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