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September 13, 2017

Word of the Day: Precocious

1 CQ

Word of the Day : September 13, 2017

precocious \prih-KOH-shus\ adjective


1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence

2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age


"They explained to me that we were going to watch people audition…. I ended up jumping onstage and singing something…. They thought I was precocious enough to be put in the chorus of the production. I was the only kid." — Johnny Galecki, quoted in The Las Cruces (New Mexico) Sun-News, 8 Mar. 2017

"Apricots, almonds, and other fruit trees are notoriously vulnerable to frost damage of buds or precocious flowers…." — Michael Bone et al., Steppes: The Plants and Ecology of the World's Semi-arid Regions, 2015

Did You Know?

Precocious got started in Latin when the prefix prae-, meaning "ahead of," was combined with the verb coquere, meaning "to cook" or "to ripen," to form the adjective praecox, which means "early ripening" or "premature." By the mid-1600s, English speakers had turned praecox into precocious and were using it especially of plants that produced blossoms before their leaves came out. By the 1670s, precocious was also being used to describe humans who developed skills or talents before others typically did.

Aired September 13, 2017

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