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[pri-koh-shuh s] /prɪˈkoʊ ʃəs/
unusually advanced or mature in development, especially mental development:
a precocious child.
prematurely developed, as the mind, faculties, etc.
of or relating to premature development.
  1. flowering, fruiting, or ripening early, as plants or fruit.
  2. bearing blossoms before leaves, as plants.
  3. appearing before leaves, as flowers.
Origin of precocious
1640-50; Latin praecoci-, stem of praecox (see precocity) + -ous
Related forms
precociously, adverb
precociousness, noun
unprecocious, adjective
unprecociously, adverb
unprecociousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for precocious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Matilda was most precocious in—at least—one way: she could repeat grown-up observations of wonderful length.

    Six to Sixteen Juliana Horatia Ewing
  • Many of our greatest divines have been anything but precocious.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • The Church Fathers unanimously deplore the precocious decay of the Christian world.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
  • Her mother tried to frighten her; but the child was too precocious.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • He was not a prodigy, nor was he in the least precocious, though his gifts were as evident as they were various.

    Edward MacDowell Lawrence Gilman
British Dictionary definitions for precocious


ahead in development, such as the mental development of a child
(botany) (of plants, fruit, etc) flowering or ripening early
Derived Forms
precociously, adverb
precociousness, precocity (prɪˈkɒsɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin praecox early maturing, from prae early + coquere to ripen
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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Contemporary definitions for precocious

appearing early, as flowers; early in development

Word Origin

Latin prae- + coquere 'to cook''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for precocious

1640s, "developed before the usual time" (of plants), with -ous + Latin praecox (genitive praecocis) "maturing early," from prae "before" (see pre-) + coquere "to ripen," literally "to cook" (see cook (n.)). Originally of flowers or fruits. Figurative use, of persons, dates from 1670s. Related: Precociously; precociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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precocious in Medicine

precocious pre·co·cious (prĭ-kō'shəs)
Showing unusually early development or maturity.

pre·coc'ity (-kŏs'ĭ-tē) or pre·co'cious·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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precocious in Science
Relating to or having flowers that blossom before the leaves emerge. Some species of magnolias are precocious.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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