General English

General Science

  • noun the human process of becoming sexually mature, marked by the development of secondary sex characteristics and, in girls, by the start of menstruation


  • noun the physical and psychological changes that take place when childhood ends and adolescence and sexual maturity begin and the sex glands become active


  • noun the time when these changes take place

Origin & History of “puberty”

Latin pūber denoted ‘adult’, and hence, by implication, ‘covered in hair’. both strands of meaning have followed the word into English: ‘adulthood’ by way of the derivative pūbertās, source of English puberty, and ‘hairiness’ in pubescent (17th c.), which means ‘downy’ as well as ‘having reached puberty’. And the two are combined in pubic ‘relating to the region of the groin where hair begins to grow at puberty’ (19th c.).