Definition of premature in English:



  • 1Occurring or done before the usual or proper time; too early.

    ‘the sun can cause premature aging’
    with infinitive ‘it would be premature to do so at this stage’
    • ‘As well as being sore and unsightly, sunburn causes premature ageing and puts you at risk of skin cancer.’
    • ‘Apart from the associations with premature ageing, darker hair suits my Anglo-Asian olive skin.’
    • ‘This, he said, would be premature, as a date has not yet been decided for the relocation of the jobs.’
    • ‘New research suggests that psychological stress may play a role in premature aging.’
    • ‘He seemed to have brought a premature end to his international career.’
    • ‘In the 70 years since his premature death, he has inspired plays, films, novels and songs.’
    • ‘However, the authors believe that many of these premature deaths are preventable.’
    • ‘The attack brought on premature labour that lasted two and half days.’
    • ‘Occasionally, the author appears to overreach his material to draw premature conclusions.’
    • ‘Free radicals are thought to be responsible for helping to cause premature ageing, heart disease and cancer.’
    • ‘She is only 48 years old - premature ageing is another common feature of these people.’
    • ‘It is premature to talk of lessons while fighting is still going on.’
    • ‘To discard potential new directions for research at this early stage would be premature.’
    • ‘We should oppose these attempts to force through a premature consensus.’
    • ‘The sun is the number one cause of premature ageing and skin damage.’
    • ‘At present, we have the highest rate of premature death from heart disease in the EU.’
    untimely, early, too soon, too early, before time
    rash, overhasty, hasty, too soon, precipitate, precipitous, impulsive, impetuous, ill-timed, ill-considered
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    1. 1.1 (of a baby) born before the end of the full term of gestation, especially three or more weeks before.
      • ‘Measles in pregnancy can cause miscarriage, premature labour or a baby with low birth weight.’
      • ‘She told how the woman was anxious about her baby's health because he had been born seven weeks premature.’
      • ‘After all, babies are born premature or late for a reason - especially in the case of prematurity.’
      • ‘In the cot next to his was a tiny baby who had been born 12 weeks premature, she recalls.’
      • ‘The outlook is bleak for children born extremely premature according to a new British study.’
      • ‘The main risks for premature babies are infection and breathing difficulties.’
      • ‘His observations led to the careful control of oxygen delivery to premature babies.’
      • ‘We saw tiny premature babies who would spend their first birthday in hospital.’
      • ‘Pregnant mothers too require blood transfusions from time to time as do some premature babies.’
      • ‘SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can happen to any baby, but premature babies and low birth-weight babies are more at risk.’
      • ‘A miracle baby who was born three months premature is set to celebrate her first birthday.’
      • ‘Some premature babies suffer from breathing difficulties but this did not appear to be the case with Jennifer.’
      • ‘Two thirds of babies who die shortly after birth are born premature.’
      • ‘Three teenage boys had their legs waxed in front of hundreds of their school pals to raise money for premature babies.’
      • ‘The twins were born four months premature at Stepping Hill Hospital.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘ripe, mature’): from Latin praematurus ‘very early’, from prae ‘before’ + maturus ‘ripe’.