Definition of pubescent in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting a person at or approaching the age of puberty.

    ‘a gang of pubescent boys’
    ‘pubescent memories’
    • ‘With my short Mohawk that looks like a crew-cut at first glance or under a hat, my army jacket, baggy work jeans and boots, I could easily be a pubescent boy.’
    • ‘It introduced a distinction between pre-pubescent and pubescent children, treating the latter as sexual children, and in so doing laid a foundation for the modern concept of adolescence.’
    • ‘When I was a mere slip of a girl, myself and a friend, as many early pubescent teenagers do, used the Ouija board a few times.’
    • ‘How the pubescent boy and wimpy character became a slicing, dicing, seething pot of neuroses and indescribable rage.’
    • ‘By the 1990s there were bras for every figure and circumstance, from pubescent teenagers to the elderly.’
    • ‘We all see whole families with their babies and pets on the same motorcycle, weaving from lane to lane, laden with packages, and driven by a pubescent teenager who isn't old enough to obtain a licence.’
    • ‘No one wants to hear a bunch of pubescent boys confessing their love repeatedly in about thirteen songs on one album.’
    • ‘They were pubescent boys who had reached puberty but had not yet grown beards.’
    • ‘All pubescent children feel anxious, needy, and confused by their desires and fears.’
    • ‘Guiding a hormonal adolescent through their pubescent years can be a thankless job, and support for mums and dads has been identified as a priority by the Scottish Parenting Forum.’
    • ‘And, oh, the families: little blond girls in oversized caps, pubescent boys roughhousing in the aisles.’
    • ‘They show her in control of her image: a blonde by choice and, with her cocksure grin, anticipating the effect she would exert on a nation of pubescent boys - and girls, too.’
    • ‘The age cutoff ensures that teams are divided into two castes, the pubescent and the prepubescent.’
    • ‘Jeff is a pubescent boy trapped inside the body of a man, still obsessed about his relationship with his mother.’
    • ‘I was a pubescent teenager, I honestly couldn't help myself.’
    • ‘Footage of barely pubescent girls screeching and swooning at any glimpse of the musicians is both astonishing and frightening in terms of the power four lads from Liverpool were able to wield - apparently effortlessly.’
    • ‘Couple this with the bimbos playing the game (often wearing next to nothing) and you realise that it's aimed at pubescent teenagers and the readers of lads' mags.’
    • ‘While pubescent males could find younger females to be on nearly the same developmental level as themselves, teenage females are not as inclined to regard younger, less developed males as sexual partners.’
    • ‘So whenever I try to sing I'm back in that no-man's land that is the bane of the pubescent boy, jumping from tenor to bass and back within a single phrase.’
    • ‘It's something that, as a pubescent boy, would probably give you a thrill, but as an adult comes across as a novelty or a perverted game feature.’
    young, teenage, teenaged, adolescent, junior, underage, pubescent, prepubescent
    View synonyms
  • 2Botany Zoology
    Covered with short soft hair; downy.

    • ‘An ovule after strong maceration exhibits an inner cuticular envelope that extends upwards into the prominent micropyle and there is a rare relict of pubescent tapetum tissue at the base.’
    • ‘Basal shoots simple, borne upright from the basal branches, to 10 cm long, densely pubescent with white trichomes.’
    • ‘On other specimens, the upper portions of the plants are pubescent while the lower portions are glabrous.’
    • ‘There is considerable variation in leaf morphology in V. riparia; in general leaves are glabrous to thinly pubescent with conspicuous tuft-form domatia in vein axils.’
    • ‘Silene virginica is pubescent, has a height of 0.2-0.7 m, and leaves to 4.5 cm wide.’


  • A person at or approaching the age of puberty.

    ‘the audience was largely made up of squealing pubescents’
    • ‘There should be no more braying at our opponents in the House of Commons like pinstriped pubescents from a bygone age.’
    • ‘Ordering pubescents about is a spectacularly unsuccessful way to influence their behaviour.’
    • ‘The small audience is probably due to licensing laws as half of the audience was made up of baggy-trouser pubescents peering through the window in the desperate hope of catching a glimpse of their school mates in action.’
    • ‘Teen drinking has always been there, pubescents drinking the types of alcohol adults wouldn't dream of touching.’
    • ‘Even more problematic is the fact that Ichi is no longer a bullied child, but a bullied pubescent.’


Mid 17th century: from French, or from Latin pubescent- reaching puberty, from the verb pubescere.