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[pree-muh-choo r, -too r, -tyoo r, pree-muh-choo r or, esp. British, prem-uh-, prem-uh-] /ˌpri məˈtʃʊər, -ˈtʊər, -ˈtyʊər, ˈpri məˌtʃʊər or, esp. British, ˌprɛm ə-, ˈprɛm ə-/
occurring, coming, or done too soon:
a premature announcement.
mature or ripe before the proper time.
a premature infant.
Origin of premature
1520-30; < Latin praemātūrus. See pre-, mature
Related forms
prematurely, adverb
prematurity, prematureness, noun
unpremature, adjective
unprematurely, adverb
unprematureness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for premature
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • premature, perhaps; why, yes, but one who is starving is not wont to feel reluctance at the suggestion of food.

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • premature playing at passion had been sport with edged tools.

    Hopes and Fears Charlotte M. Yonge
  • premature fatigue is usually caused by undue muscular contraction.

    Piano Playing Josef Hofmann
  • premature despair and the deepest discouragement have been my constant portion.

    Amiel's Journal Henri-Frdric Amiel
  • premature delivery of a living calf occurred April 9, 80 days after the first inoculation.

    Contagious Abortion of Cows Ward J. MacNeal
  • premature insurrection in Calabria, Italy, suppressed, and twenty leaders executed.

  • premature burial is said to be very common, among the Moors.

    Dealings with the Dead, Volume I (of 2) A Sexton of the Old School
  • premature and defective development is a symptom closely allied to the two preceding.

    Plain Facts for Old and Young John Harvey Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for premature


/ˌprɛməˈtjʊə; ˈprɛməˌtjʊə/
occurring or existing before the normal or expected time
impulsive or hasty: a premature judgment
(of an infant) weighing less than 2500 g (51/2 lbs) and usually born before the end of the full period of gestation
Derived Forms
prematurely, adverb
prematureness, prematurity, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praemātūrus, very early, from prae in advance + mātūrus ripe
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 premature

mid-15c., from Latin praematurus "early ripe" (as fruit), "too early, untimely," from prae "before" (see pre-) + maturus "ripe, timely" (see mature (v.)). Related: Prematurely; prematurity; prematuration. Premature ejaculation is attested from 1848; Latin euphemism ejaculatio praecox dates to 1891 in English but was used earlier in German and appears to have been, at first at least, the psychologist's term for it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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premature in Medicine

premature pre·ma·ture (prē'mə-tyur', -tur', -chur')

  1. Occurring or developing before the usual or expected time.

  2. Born after a gestation period of less than the normal time, especially, in human infants, after a period of less than 37 weeks.

pre'ma·tu'ri·ty or pre'ma·ture'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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