Student Dictionary

One entry found for precocious.
Main Entry: pre·co·cious
Pronunciation: pri-primarystresskomacr-shschwas
Function: adjective
Etymology: from Latin praecoc-, praecox "ripening early, ripening before its time," from prae- "ahead of, before" and coquere "to ripen, cook"
: showing the qualities or abilities of an adult at an unusually early age <a precocious child>
- pre·co·cious·ly adverb
- pre·co·cious·ness noun
- pre·coc·i·ty /pri-primarystresskäs-schwat-emacron/ noun
Word History The process of growing from a child to an adult is sometimes thought of as being like the slow ripening of fruit. That was the image which gave us the word precocious. Like many English words, precocious comes from Latin. The Latin prefix prae-, meaning "ahead of, before," and the verb coquere, meaning "to ripen, cook," were combined to form the adjective praecoc-, praecox, which meant "ripening early or before its time." The Latin word was first used to describe certain plants and fruits. In time it also came to be used to describe a child who is unusually mature at an early age.

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