Definition of juvenile in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdʒuːvənʌɪl/


1For or relating to young people: juvenile crime
More example sentences
  • Talk to people who live on the Brunshaw estate and the same themes come up time and time again: crime, juvenile nuisance, drug dealing, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
  • But there are issues that should be tackled immediately, especially in the field of juvenile crime.
  • As juvenile crime rises, here and across the country, tonight's confessions of a York teenager make provocative reading.
young, teenage, teenaged, adolescent, junior, underage, pubescent, prepubescent
1.1Denoting a theatrical or film role representing a young person: the romantic juvenile lead
More example sentences
  • Over 3,000 boys have already been seen, and the musical's appetite for new talent will remain high throughout its run, with cast changes a legal requirement for the juvenile actors every six months.
  • She didn't suffer fools gladly, which seemed to include all the juvenile actors she had to work with in TV.
  • The next day he received a letter from London saying his audition for the juvenile lead in a musical comedy had been successful.
1.2Relating to young birds and animals: the prey of juvenile owls juvenile mortality in whelks
More example sentences
  • Juvenile plumage is seldom seen in Washington, although some birds in juvenile plumage can be seen in the eastern flyway.
  • In juvenile birds, females were much more philopatric than males as indicated by the ratio being much less than one for both Alberta and Saskatchewan in Figure 4.
  • Certainly juvenile animals are a common prey of large carnivores today, and it is no surprise that similar patterns should have played out in the past.
2Childish; immature: she’s bored with my juvenile conversation
More example sentences
  • Asked about the motivation for the vandalism, he said it was simply a case of very juvenile, immature peer pressure.
  • He probably thought that I was an immature and juvenile little child, which I can be, when I'm near Garret.
  • As juvenile and immaturely sexist as this may seem, you will never imagine how useful this can be.
childish, immature, puerile, infantile, babyish;
jejune, inexperienced, callow, green, unsophisticated, naive, foolish, silly, stupid, asinine;
North American  sophomoric
informal wet behind the ears


1A young person.
Example sentences
  • It promises efforts to correct behavioural problems among juveniles and to adopt changes to educational programmes, with new curricula, texts and teaching methods to reduce stress on kids.
  • The judging panel were impressed with the vast range of sporting activity being provided for all ages within the parish, particularly the emphasis being put upon juveniles - boys and girls.
  • The club caters for juniors and juveniles on Fridays from 7.30 to 11 pm and for adults only on Wednesday nights from 7.30 to 11 pm.
young person, youngster, child, teenager, adolescent, minor, junior;
boy, girl, schoolboy, schoolgirl
informal kid
1.1 Law A person below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible (18 in most countries): the law relating to the sentencing of juveniles
More example sentences
  • But legal considerations plausibly have a great deal to do with increases in incarceration, capital punishment, and criminal prosecution of juveniles.
  • While the age of juveniles in the criminal justice system will be raised from 17 to 18, the only other change will see significant new powers put into the hands of the police.
  • In my judgment, Parliament has clearly, in sections 39 and 49, drawn a distinction between juveniles appearing in youth courts and juveniles appearing in adult courts.
1.2An actor playing a juvenile role.
Example sentences
  • Just 18, she played her first lead role in the film: she had been a juvenile in her previous appearance.
  • But, now and then, a juvenile comes along who actually deserves to be called an 'actor'.
  • Bill specialized in likeable but none-too-bright juveniles and young leads.
1.3A young bird or animal: the light-coloured plumage of a juvenile
More example sentences
  • Investigators have also observed newly independent juveniles preying on young of the same or related species.
  • The high disparity of young juveniles may seem surprising given the perception that embryos and larvae are typically more similar than adults.
  • We found evidence indicating that increased movement rates may increase the risk of predation for adult birds but not juveniles.



Pronunciation: /dʒuːvəˈnɪlɪti/
Example sentences
  • I was disgusted by the juvenility and meanness running through it all.
  • It simply seems to have been made from the leftovers of yesterday's juvenility.
  • In their pursuit of youth, men of my generation show some worrying signs of juvenility.


Early 17th century: from Latin juvenilis, from juvenis 'young, a young person'.

  • young from Old English:

    Young and youth (Old English) are from the same ancient root as Latin juvenis ‘young’, source of juvenile (early 17th century) and rejuvenate (early 19th century). The good die young is a proverb from the late 17th century, but the idea goes back to the ancient Greek playwright Menander, who wrote: ‘Whom the gods love dies young.’ A young turk is now a young person eager for radical change, a meaning that comes from the Young Turks who carried out the revolution of 1908 in the Ottoman Empire and deposed the sultan Abdul Hamid II.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ju¦ven|ile

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