/pyooh"beuhr tee/, n.the period or age at which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction of offspring: in common law, presumed to be 14 years in the male and 12 years in the female.[1350-1400; ME puberte < L pubertas adulthood, equiv. to puber-, s. of pubes grown-up + -tas -TY2]
* * *In human physiology, the period of first becoming capable of reproducing sexually.Occurring at about age 12 in girls and age 14 in boys, puberty is characterized by the maturing of the genital organs, development of secondary sex characteristics, and, in girls, onset of menstruation. Both sexes experience a swift increase in body size and changes in body shape and composition. Puberty marks the beginning of adolescence.
* * *in human physiology, the stage or period of life when a child transforms into an adult normally capable of procreation.A brief treatment of puberty follows. (See also adolescence).The timing of puberty varies from person to person and from country to country owing to genetic, environmental, and other factors but usually occurs between ages 11 and 16. Among moderately well-off British or North American children, puberty on the average peaks at about age 12 for girls and age 14 for boys. The rapidity with which a child passes through the several stages of puberty also varies. In girls the interval from the first indication of puberty to complete maturity may vary from 18 months to 6 years. In boys a similar variation occurs; the male genitalia may take between 2 and 5 years to attain full development.In puberty both girls and boys experience a swift increase in body size, a change in shape and composition of the body, and a rapid development of the reproductive organs and other characteristics marking sexual maturity. In a girl the first observable change is usually noted in the breasts; (mammary gland) the nipples start to enlarge, and a few months later the breast tissue begins to grow. A few pubic hairs (hair) develop, and she enters into a period of relatively rapid growth. The ovaries (ovary) begin producing estrogen, causing fat deposits to develop on the hips and thighs, and the slim, angular girl moves steadily toward a more rounded female contour. The larynx undergoes minor structural changes so that her voice alters and becomes less childlike (but the changes are not nearly so radical as those in a boy). Meanwhile, her adrenal glands (adrenal gland) are manufacturing male sex hormones, which play a key role in the development of pubic and underarm hair and contribute to the physical growth. The first menstrual period (menstruation) is generally the final event, usually occurring about two or more years after the entire puberty process is under way. During the following two years, the girl's menses are apt to be irregular; her normal cyclic hormonal pattern has not yet been established, and ovulation is infrequent. Eventually, however, her menstruation and ovulation cycles become more regular.In boys, the first sign of puberty is usually an accelerated growth of the testes and scrotum, with reddening and wrinkling of the scrotal skin. The first pubic hair may begin at the same time or a little later. About a year later the boy's height is apt to be increasing again at the rapid rate that he last experienced at about age two. At this time the penis also grows, as do the seminal vesicles, the prostate, and the bulbo-urethral glands, all of which contribute their secretions to the seminal fluid. The time of the first ejaculation of seminal fluid varies but usually occurs about a year after the beginning of accelerated penis growth. Unlike the girl's initial irregularity in menses and ovulation, the boy's fertility may be almost constant after initial ejaculation. In a final stage, averaging about two years after the beginning of pubic hair growth, hair begins to appear on the armpits and face, and there may soon appear hair on the chest and other parts of the body (though much of this general hair growth may occur after puberty). The voice changes in pitch because of the enlargement of the larynx and lengthening of the vocal cords, initiated by action of the male hormone testosterone.Numerous factors may retard maturation or prevent normal growth, including hormonal disorders, metabolic defects, hereditary conditions, and inadequate nutrition.
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Puberty — refers to the process of physical changes by which a child s body becomes an adult body capable of reproduction. Puberty is initiated by hormone signals from the brain to the gonads (the ovaries and testes). In response, the gonads produce a… … Wikipedia
puberty — [pyo͞o′bər tē] n. [ME puberte < L pubertas < puber, of ripe age, adult, prob. akin to puer, boy] the stage of physical development when secondary sex characteristics develop and sexual reproduction first becomes possible: in common law, the … English World dictionary
Puberty — Pu ber*ty, n. [L. pubertas, fr. puber, pubes, adult: cf. F. pubert[ e].] 1. The earliest age at which persons are capable of begetting or bearing children, usually considered, in temperate climates, to be about fourteen years in males and twelve… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
puberty — index adolescence Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
puberty — (n.) the time of life in which the two sexes begin first to be acquainted [Johnson], late 14c., from O.Fr. puberté, from L. pubertatem (nom. pubertas) age of maturity, manhood, from pubes (gen. pubertis) adult, full grown, manly … Etymology dictionary
puberty — puberty, pubescence *youth, adolescence … New Dictionary of Synonyms
puberty — [n] young adulthood adolescence, awkward stage*, boyhood, girlhood, greenness*, high school years, juvenescence, juvenility, potency, preadolescence, pubescence, spring*, springtide*, springtime*, teenage years, teens, youth, youthfulness;… … New thesaurus
puberty — ► NOUN ▪ the period during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction. DERIVATIVES pubertal adjective. ORIGIN Latin pubertas, from puber adult , related to pubes (see PUBES(Cf. ↑pubes)) … English terms dictionary
puberty — noun VERB + PUBERTY ▪ enter, hit (informal), reach ▪ She hit puberty a year before any of her friends. ▪ He reached puberty at the age of fourteen. ▪ approach … Collocations dictionary
PUBERTY — It was estimated that puberty, defined by the appearance of two pubic hairs, began in women early in the 13th year, and in men about the start of the 14th year, and for that reason maturity was regarded as beginning legally from the age of 12… … Encyclopedia of Judaism