Definition of pubescent in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And, oh, the families: little blond girls in oversized caps, pubescent boys roughhousing in the aisles.’
    • ‘I was a pubescent teenager, I honestly couldn't help myself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All pubescent children feel anxious, needy, and confused by their desires and fears.’
    • ‘By the 1990s there were bras for every figure and circumstance, from pubescent teenagers to the elderly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were pubescent boys who had reached puberty but had not yet grown beards.’
    • ‘How the pubescent boy and wimpy character became a slicing, dicing, seething pot of neuroses and indescribable rage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No one wants to hear a bunch of pubescent boys confessing their love repeatedly in about thirteen songs on one album.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The age cutoff ensures that teams are divided into two castes, the pubescent and the prepubescent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jeff is a pubescent boy trapped inside the body of a man, still obsessed about his relationship with his mother.’
    young, teenage, teenaged, adolescent, junior, underage, prepubescent
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  • 2Zoology Botany
    Covered with short soft hair; downy.

    • ‘On other specimens, the upper portions of the plants are pubescent while the lower portions are glabrous.’
    • ‘Basal shoots simple, borne upright from the basal branches, to 10 cm long, densely pubescent with white trichomes.’
    • ‘Silene virginica is pubescent, has a height of 0.2-0.7 m, and leaves to 4.5 cm wide.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


  • A person at or approaching the age of puberty.

    • ‘Teen drinking has always been there, pubescents drinking the types of alcohol adults wouldn't dream of touching.’
    • ‘Ordering pubescents about is a spectacularly unsuccessful way to influence their behaviour.’
    • ‘There should be no more braying at our opponents in the House of Commons like pinstriped pubescents from a bygone age.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.