See also: juvénile

English edit

Etymology edit

A juvenile female (adjective sense 1) – a young Aka girl – from the Central African Republic

Borrowed from Latin iuvenīlis (youthful; juvenile), from iuvenis (young; a youth) + -īlis (suffix forming adjectives indicating a relationship or a pertaining to). Iuvenis is ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₂yuh₁en- (young), from *h₂óyu (long life; lifetime) (from *h₂ey- (age; life)) + *h₁én (in).

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

juvenile (comparative more juvenile, superlative most juvenile)

  1. Young; not fully developed.
    • [1716], [Abraham] de Wicquefort, “What Age is Proper for an Embassador”, in [John] Digby, transl., The Embassador and His Functions. [], London: Printed for Bernard Lintott, [], →OCLC, page 54, column 1:
      There are certain Climates, where the Mind ripens and attains ſooner to Perfection than in others: nay there are ſome Conſtitutions of Body, where the humours are ſo exactly mixt, that they form an admirable Temper; the Effects thereof are diſcoverable in the firſt Juvenile Years, and leave very fine Remains, even in a decrepit Age.
    • 1845 November, “How Boys and Girls may be Missionaries”, in The Juvenile Missionary Herald, volume III, London: Printed for and published by the Baptist Missionary Society, and sold by Houlston and Stoneman, [], →OCLC, page 257:
      We should then be able to count on the labours of fifty thousand juvenile home missionaries, and the next generation would be able to speak from a happier experience than we, of "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord."—From the Canada Sunday School Record.
    • 1853, Mary Carpenter, “Characteristics and Classes”, in Juvenile Delinquents, Their Condition and Treatment, London: W. & F. G. Cash, (successors to C. Gilpin,) [], →OCLC, page 17:
      When juvenile offenders are spoken of, young thieves are usually intended; for an examination of the annals of crime will show that varied as are the offences of adults, those for which children are arraigned in a criminal court are almost invariably thefts more or less trivial; []
    • 1988, Edmund F. McGarrell, “Juvenile Justice in Change”, in Juvenile Correctional Reform: Two Decades of Policy and Procedural Change (SUNY Series in Critical Issues in Criminal Justice), Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, →ISBN, page 7:
      [T]he juvenile justice system became firmly established as the legitimate institution for responding to juvenile delinquency and misconduct during 1900 and 1960.
  2. Characteristic of youth or immaturity; childish.
    Synonyms: (colloquial) juvey, milky, puerile; see also Thesaurus:childish
    • 1659, John Gauden, chapter XXXI, in Ίερα Δακρυα [Hiera dakrya]. Ecclesiae Anglicanae Suspiria. The Tears, Sighs, Complaints, and Prayers of the Church of England: [], London: Printed by J[ohn] G[rismond] for R[ichard] Royston, [], →OCLC, book II (Searching the Causes and Occasions of the Church of England’s Decayes), page 251:
      Adde to this diſsipated and diſtracted ſtate of Miniſters, their private diſtreſſes and poverties, together with the publick neglect and indifferency of people toward them; who can wonder if they look pitifully one on another, which no jocoſe or juvenile drolings can relieve?
    • 1792 June, “Art. I. The Pleasures of Memory, a Poem, in Two Parts, by the Author of ‘An Ode to Superstition, with Some Other Poems.’ 4to. pp. 71. 3s. 6d. Boards. Cadell. 1792. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume VIII, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, in Pall Mall, →OCLC, pages 122–123:
      This is illuſtrated by a variety of examples; particularly by the attachment which we naturally form to inanimate objects; and by the pleaſure derived from hiſtoric ſcenes, from painting, and from the review of juvenile days.
    • 2005, Sidney Michael Trantham, “Diagnoses Commonly Associated with Childhood”, in Amy Wagenfeld, Jennifer Kaldenberg, editors, Foundations of Pediatric Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, Thorofare, N.J.: SLACK Incorporated, →ISBN, page 85:
      Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a form of rheumatoid arthritis that affects children under the age of 16 []. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis impacts the larger joints of the body and is a chronic condition.
    • 2013, Thomas Keneally, chapter 21, in Shame and the Captives, Sydney, N.S.W.: Random House Australia, →ISBN; trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Washington Square Press, Simon & Schuster, December 2015, →ISBN, page 197:
      He indicated that Cheong should follow his actions, but Cheong was little tempted and chose not to engage in such a juvenile scene.

Antonyms edit

Derived terms edit

Terms derived from juvenile (adjective)

Related terms edit

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Noun edit

Three 16-year-old male juveniles (sense 2)
American actress Maude Adams (1872–1953) playing the juvenile role (sense 5) of Peter Pan on Broadway
A kitten is a feline juvenile (sense 6)

juvenile (plural juveniles)

  1. A prepubescent child.
    • 1978, Paul A[llen] Walker, “The Role of Antiandrogens in the Treatment of Sex Offenders”, in C. Brandon Qualls, John P. Wincze, David H. Barlow, editors, The Prevention of Sexual Disorders: Issues and Approaches (Perspectives in Sexuality), New York, N.Y.: Plenum Press, →ISBN, page 127; reprinted New York, N.Y.: Springer Science+Business Media, 2013, →DOI, →ISBN, page 127:
      One patient, a pedophile with a long history of arrests, penal incarceration, psychiatric admissions, and outpatient psychotherapy, commented that in the past when he saw a juvenile male playing, he (the patient) would without hesitation approach the boy and make a sexual proposition. When he was on MPA [medroxyprogesterone acetate] therapy, he stated that, at worst, when he saw such a juvenile, he only smiled "with appreciation" for the boy's good looks and otherwise kept about his business.
  2. A person younger than the age of majority; a minor.
    Synonyms: (dated) infant, (colloquial) juvie
    • 2005, Markus Zusak, “The Kiss (a Childhood Decision Maker)”, in The Book Thief, Sydney, N.S.W.: Picador, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, →ISBN, page 49:
      Every childhood seems to have exactly such a juvenile in its midst and mists. He's the boy who refuses to fear the opposite sex, purely because everyone else embraces that particular fear, and he's the type who is unafraid to make a decision.
  3. (criminal law) A person younger than the age of full criminal responsibility, such that the person either cannot be held criminally liable or is subject to less severe forms of punishment.
    • 2010, Richard Lawrence, Mario Hesse, “The Juvenile Court Process”, in Juvenile Justice: The Essentials, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, →ISBN, page 192:
      If the juvenile violates the conditions of the stayed sentence, typically by committing a new offense, the court may revoke the stay and require that the offender be taken into custody. The juvenile is then given written notice of the reasons for the revocation of the stayed sentence, and may have a hearing with representation of legal counsel if the revocation is challenged.
  4. (literature) A publication for young adult readers.
    • 1958, The Author and Journalist, volumes 42–43, Denver, Colo.: H. Ellithrope, →OCLC, page lxxxiv, column 1:
      Formerly a publisher of juveniles, out of the market till 1959, when it will enter adult fiction field.
  5. (theater) An actor playing a child's role.
  6. (zoology) A sexually immature animal.
    • 2002, Charles H. Janson, Carel P[hilippus] Van Schaik, “Ecological Risk Aversion in Juvenile Primates: Slow and Steady Wins the Race”, in Michael E. Pereira, Lynn A. Fairbanks, editors, Juvenile Primates: Life History, Development, and Behavior, Chicago, Ill., London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 65, column 1:
      Even if juveniles acquire sex-specific adult-like foraging skills before reaching adult size, their smaller body size may put them at a foraging disadvantage. [] The size effect on foraging is reduced in species that use small or easily manipulated substrates. For instance, in Costa Rican squirrel monkeys, juveniles apparently mastered techniques for insect foraging only a few months after weaning, when they were still much smaller than adults [].
  7. A two-year-old racehorse.
    • 1972, Edward Samuel Montgomery, The Thoroughbred, page 449:
      Even more incredible is the legion of two-year-olds who win handsomely as juveniles and then disappear from the racetrack.
    • 2005, Ken McLean, Designing Speed in the Racehorse, page 206:
      Professional trainers foster young horses with obvious potential. Instance the way Sir Michael Stoute uses patience to bring along his two-year-old colts and fillies at Newmarket, or the careful approach taken with juveniles by that wonderful conditioner Charlie Whittingham in California.
    • 2012, Encyclopedia of British Horse Racing, page 6:
      Thereafter, males aged two to four are colts, females are fillies, racing two-year-olds are sometimes referred to as juveniles, and animals still running at five, the age of thoroughbred maturity, or older, are horses or mares according to gender.

Derived terms edit

Terms derived from juvenile (noun)

Translations edit

Further reading edit

Latin edit

Adjective edit


  1. nominative/accusative/vocative neuter singular of juvenīlis