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c) to develop very fast at an early age (children)
precocious = frühreif, altklug
precocious: approximately 6,300,000 Google hits
He found girls currently start puberty at an average of 10.25 years of age. His findings echo previous research suggesting PRECOCIOUS puberty is a growing trend.
The grim fact is that we prepare for war like PRECOCIOUS giants, and for peace like retarded pygmies.
- Lester B. Pearson Canadian politician and recipient of the Noble Peace Prize
Did you know?
precocious (noun: precociousness)
- showing mental development or achievement much earlier than usual
(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
Precocious stems from the Latin praecox (gen. praecocis), to "mature early" and is a combination of "pre" (before) and "coquere" (ripen, or literally to cook). It was first used in relation to early-maturing fruits and flowers. The figurative sense first appeared in the mid 17th century.
The word precocious typically brings to mind children who talk and act much older than their age, such as a five year old who can play Mozart's Symphony Nr. 25 without music notes and give a one-hour lecture on the evolution of the dinosaur. The term is sometimes used in a negative fashion to describe cheeky or sassy children.
The animal world also has its precocious "children." A good example is the killdeer bird. Killdeer chicks hatch with their eyes open, wasting no time to scurry about and follow their parents to search the ground for something to eat. Newly-hatched killdeer can't fly, and they need their killdeer parents for protection and guidance, but they are a lot more independent than most baby birds.
Adult killdeer birds are great actors by the way. They can sometimes be seen on roadsides, picking through gravel to find something to eat. If you approach them, they may suddenly act as if they have a broken wing and will lead you a safe distance from their chicks and then suddenly fly away. Charadrius vociferous (scientific name) makes a unique sound (kill-deer!) when flying overhead, which is where it gets its common name.
advanced, ahead of time, bright, developed, mature for its age, smart
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