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From Middle English youthe, youhthe, ȝouthe, ȝewethe, ȝuȝethe, ȝeoȝuthe, from Old English ġeoguþ (the state of being young; youth), from West Germanic *juwunþa, from Proto-Germanic *jugunþō, *jugunþiz (youth), corresponding to young +‎ -th. Cognate with Saterland Frisian Juugd, West Frisian jeugd, Dutch jeugd, German Low German Jöögd, German Jugend.



youth (countable and uncountable, plural youths)

  1. (uncountable) The quality or state of being young.
    Synonyms: juvenility, youngness, (archaic) youngth, youthfulness
    Antonyms: age, dotage, old age, senility
    Her youth and beauty attracted him to her.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, “The Purchase Price”, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
  2. (uncountable) The part of life following childhood; the period of existence preceding maturity or age; the whole early part of life, from childhood, or, sometimes, from infancy, to adulthood.
    Make the most of your youth, it will not last forever.
    I made many mistakes in my youth, but learned from them all.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 49:
      I don't find the pose of careless youth charming and engaging any more than you find the pose of careworn age fascinating and eccentric, I should imagine.
    • 2013 January 1, Brian Hayes, “Father of Fractals”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 1, page 62:
      Toward the end of the war, Benoit was sent off on his own with forged papers; he wound up working as a horse groom at a chalet in the Loire valley. Mandelbrot describes this harrowing youth with great sangfroid.
  3. (countable) A young person.
    Synonyms: adolescent, child, kid, lad, teen, teenager, youngster
    Antonyms: adult, grown-up
    There was a group of youths hanging around the parking lot, reading fashion magazines and listening to music.
  4. (countable) A young man; a male adolescent or young adult.
    Synonyms: boy, young man
  5. (uncountable, used with a plural or singular verb) Young persons, collectively.
    Synonyms: adolescents, kids, teenagers, teens, young people, youngsters

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Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • youth at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • youth in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • youth in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.

Further reading[edit]