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From Latin praecox (premature, precocious, ripe before time, early ripe), from praecoquō (to ripen beforehand, ripen fully, also boil beforehand), from prae (before) + coquō (to cook, boil, ripen). Doublet of apricot.


  • enPR: prĭ-kō'shəs, IPA(key): /pɹəˈkəʊʃəs/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊʃəs


precocious (comparative more precocious, superlative most precocious)

  1. Characterized by exceptionally early development or maturity.
    The precocious plant was already blooming flowers by day 4.
    • 1859, George Meredith, chapter 15, in The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. A History of Father and Son. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Chapman and Hall, →OCLC:
      Now those abominations whom you call precocious boys—your little pet monsters, doctor!—and who can wonder that the world is what it is? when it is full of them—as they will have no divine time to look back upon in their own lives, how can they believe in innocence and goodness, or be other than sons of selfishness and the Devil?
    • 2014 November 14, Stephen Halliday, “Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland: Maloney the hero”, in The Scotsman[1]:
      Scotland’s most encouraging early source of an attacking threat was Andrew Robertson as the precocious left-back charged forward to good effect on a couple of occasions.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 5:
      Both groups, also, have already evolved precocious (intracapsular) spore germination.
  2. Exhibiting advanced skills and aptitudes at an abnormally early age.
    The precocious child began reading the newspaper at age four.
    • 1964, Sherman Brothers (lyrics and music), “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, in Mary Poppins, Walt Disney:
      Mary: Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious / If you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious.



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