from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Manifesting or characterized by unusually early development or maturity, especially in mental aptitude.
  • adj. Botany Blossoming before the appearance of leaves.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Characterized by exceptionally early development or maturity.
  • adj. Exhibiting advanced skills at an abnormally early age.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Ripe or mature before the proper or natural time; early or prematurely ripe or developed.
  • adj. Developed more than is natural or usual at a given age; exceeding what is to be expected of one's years; too forward; -- used especially of mental forwardness

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Ripe before the natural time.
  • Ripe in understanding at an early period; prematurely developed; forward: as, a precocious child; precocious faculties.
  • Indicative of precocity; characteristic of early maturity; anticipative of greater age; premature.
  • In botany, appearing before the leaves: said of flowers.
  • In biology, present in an egg or embryo at a very early stage in an imperceptible condition; present before becoming manifest.
  • Noting birds that, like chickens, are able to run about as soon as hatched; precocial. See Præcoces.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. characterized by or characteristic of exceptionally early development or maturity (especially in mental aptitude)
  • adj. appearing or developing early


From Latin praecox, praecoc-, premature, from praecoquere, to boil before, ripen early : prae-, pre- + coquere, to cook, ripen; see pekw- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin praecox ("premature, precocious, ripe before time, early ripe"), from praecoquere ("to ripen beforehand, ripen fully, also boil beforehand"), from prae ("before") + coquere ("to cook, boil"). (Wiktionary)



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  • characterized by or characteristic of exceptionally early development or maturity (especially in mental aptitude)

    Though only seven years old, she was a precocious chess prodigy, able to beat players twice her age.

    October 19, 2016

  • "I judged, then, that the children of that time were extremely precocious, physically at least, and I found afterwards abundant verification of that opinion."
    - H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

    December 17, 2008

  • How you will sound if you say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious loud enough.

    December 22, 2006