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From Latin puerīlis (childish), from puer (child, boy).



puerile (comparative more puerile, superlative most puerile)

  1. Childish; trifling; silly.
    Synonyms: juvenile, silly, trifling
    • (Can we date this quote?) De Quincey:
      The French have been notorious through generations for their puerile affectation of Roman forms, models, and historic precedents.
    • 1927, Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, page 79:
      From the table he had received the gout; from the alcove a tendency to convulsions; from the grandeeship a pride so vast and puerile that he seldom heard anything that was said to him and talked to the ceiling in a perpetual monologue; from the exile, oceans of boredom, a boredom so persuasive that it was like pain,—he woke up with it and spent the day with it, and it sat by his bed all night watching his sleep.
    • 2014 April 12, Simon Russell Beale, “Why Shakespeare always says something new: As the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth approaches, the great Shakespearean actor Simon Russell Beale explains his secrets [print version: The king and I]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1], London, page R7:
      [] I have always found it hard that Hamlet, a character that I love and admire, is guilty of a puerile misogyny and, perhaps, more worryingly, of the unnecessary deaths of his old friends from university, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    • 1930 July, West Kirby, Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon, Preface (page 9 of the Dover 1968 reprint of L&FM and Star Maker):
      Today we should welcome, and even study, every serious attempt to envisage the future of our race, not merely to grasp the very diverse and often tragic possibilities that confront us, but also that we may familiarize ourselves with the certainty that many of our cherished ideals would seem puerile to more developed minds.
  2. Characteristic of, or pertaining to, a boy or boys; compare puellile. (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit




From Latin puerīlis.



puerile (masculine and feminine plural puerili)

  1. puerile, childish, juvenile, boyish
  2. (rare) children's (attribute), baby (attribute)


Related termsEdit






  1. nominative neuter singular of puerīlis
  2. accusative neuter singular of puerīlis
  3. vocative neuter singular of puerīlis