Definition of precocious in English:



  • 1(of a child) having developed certain abilities or proclivities at an earlier age than usual.

    ‘he was a precocious, solitary boy’
    • ‘A precocious composer (his earliest anthems date from c. 1663), he was sent to France and Italy about 1664 to study the latest fashions in music.’
    • ‘If I had my way I'd ban the most precocious kids from reading anything but Enid Blyton.’
    • ‘She was a precocious child, it would seem, and already demonstrating where her adult interests would come to lie.’
    • ‘There's still something of the precocious child about him.’
    • ‘A precocious child, he read voraciously and soon revealed an extraordinary aptitude for languages.’
    • ‘The point is made early on that Daniel is an intellectually precocious child.’
    • ‘As a boy, Freud was intellectually precocious and an extremely hard worker.’
    • ‘As a precocious teenager, and now as a student, Millie has always shared her wild lifestyle with Jamie.’
    advanced, old beyond one's years, forward, ahead of one's peers, mature, prematurely developed, ahead, gifted, talented, clever, intelligent, quick
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    1. 1.1(of behavior or ability) indicative of early development.
      ‘a precocious talent for computing’
      • ‘Professor Frerichs recognized the precocious talent of this newcomer and encouraged Ehrlich's pursuit of histology and chemistry.’
      • ‘He is an absolutely precocious talent, and as nice a person as I could wish to be associated with.’
      • ‘Outfield players, especially, must be nurtured almost full-time from the first inkling of any precocious ability.’
      • ‘The 27-year-old grew up in bleak times for Scottish sport, when there was neither the political will nor the financial support to nurture precocious talent.’
      • ‘His talent was as precocious as his future partner's, and back in America he would perform at children's parties and at his father's academic gatherings.’
      • ‘As a child growing up in Moray, Caledonian Thistle's manager was nicknamed Pele because of the precocious talent which saw him signed by Manchester United as a 15-year-old.’
      • ‘When you realise how precocious was the talent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, you can only pray he was a nice kid.’
      • ‘A precocious talent, he joined New York City Ballet aged 16 and after a season with Zurich Ballet returned as soloist, becoming principal in 1995.’
      • ‘Neil Tarrant, on loan from Aston Villa, has provided the impetus with his precocious ability to score important goals.’
      • ‘He seems to have been aware of this from adolescence: certainly from the time when, in his early twenties, he lived and worked in Rome under the patronage of a bevy of cardinals who admired his precocious talents.’
      • ‘Of the two latest biographers, it is Nicholas Roe, a professor of English at St Andrews University, who writes most expansively about the poet's ancestry and precocious development as a poet.’
      • ‘Olivier Messiaen was born in Avignon, France in 1908 into a highly scholarly family and showed precocious musical talent.’
      • ‘Although he's initially terrified at the prospect of being a father, Angela soon has a calming effect on him, despite her precocious, junk food-fuelled behaviour.’
      • ‘His precocious ability recognised, he would go on to win the same scholarship held by Daniel Barenboim and Itzhak Perlman and to play at the Carnegie Hall.’
      • ‘Any display of precocious talent - or even average ability - mysteriously finds its way into every conversation.’
    2. 1.2(of a plant) flowering or fruiting earlier than usual.
      • ‘Callery pears are precocious, having a very short juvenile period, and flower as early as 3 years old.’
      • ‘The vine is a precocious one, budding, flowering, and ripening early, which makes it prone to spring frosts but means that it can flourish in regions as cool as much of the Loire.’
      • ‘In cold-winter climates, prune precocious magnolias in summer after they've bloomed.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin praecox, praecoc- (from praecoquere ripen fully from prae before + coquere to cook) + -ious.