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young definition


This page has 13 definitions of young in English and Middle English. Young is an adjective, noun and verb. Examples of how to use young in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Young

English young definition


Inherited from Middle English yong, yonge, from Old English ġeong, from Proto-West Germanic *jung, from Proto-Germanic *jungaz, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂yuh₁n̥ḱós, from *h₂yuh₁en- (young).



young (comparative younger, superlative youngest)

  1. In the early part of growth or life; born not long ago.
    • 1809 October 26, William Wordsworth, “The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement”, in Friend, No. 11, ll. 4-5:
      Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
      But to be young was very heaven!
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice:
      "What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society."
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 34:
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
    a lamb is a young sheep;  these picture books are for young readers
  2. At an early stage of existence or development; having recently come into existence.
    the age of space travel is still young;   a young business
  3. (Not) advanced in age; (far towards or) at a specified stage of existence or age.
    • 1906, Robertson Nicoll, Tis Forty Years Since, quoted in T. P.'s Weekly, volume 8, page 462:
      And thou, our Mother, twice two centuries young,
      Bend with bright shafts of truth thy bow fresh-strung.
    How young is your dog?   Her grandmother turned 70 years young last month.
  4. Junior (of two related people with the same name).
    • 1841, The Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art:
      The young Mr. Chester must be in the wrong, and the old Mr. Chester must be in the right.
  5. Early. (of a decade of life)
    • 1922, E. Barrington, “The Mystery of Stella” in “The Ladies!” A Shining Constellation of Wit and Beauty, Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, pp. 40-41,[2]
      [] Miss Hessy is as pretty a girl as eye can see, in her young twenties and a bit of a fortune to boot.
    • 1965, Muriel Spark, The Mandelbaum Gate, London: Macmillan, Part One, Chapter 1:
      Ephraim would be in his young thirties.
    • 2008 January 20, Alice Fisher, “Grown-up chic is back as high street goes upmarket”, in The Guardian:
      [] while this may appeal to older, better-off shoppers, vast numbers, especially those in their teens and young twenties, still want fast, cheap fashion.
  6. Youthful; having the look or qualities of a young person.
    • 2013 August 3, “Revenge of the nerds”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Think of banking today and the image is of grey-suited men in towering skyscrapers. Its future, however, is being shaped in converted warehouses and funky offices in San Francisco, New York and London, where bright young things in jeans and T-shirts huddle around laptops, sipping lattes or munching on free food.
    My grandmother is a very active woman and is quite young for her age.
  7. Of or belonging to the early part of life.
    The cynical world soon shattered my young dreams.
  8. (obsolete) Having little experience; inexperienced; unpracticed; ignorant; weak.



Derived terms

Terms derived from young (adjective)

Related terms



young (plural young)

  1. (often as if a plural noun) Offspring, especially the immature offspring of animals.
    The lion caught a gnu to feed its young.
    The lion's young are curious about the world around them.
    • 2010, Mammal Anatomy: An Illustrated Guide[3], page 21:
      There is a logic in this behavior: a mother will not come into breeding condition again unless her young is ready to be weaned or has died, so killing a baby may hasten []



young (third-person singular simple present youngs, present participle younging, simple past and past participle younged)

  1. (informal or demography) To become or seem to become younger.
    • 1993, Jacob S. Siegel, A Generation of Change, page 5:
      The aging (or younging) of a population refers to the fact that a population, as a unit of observation, is getting older (or younger).
  2. (informal or demography) To cause to appear younger.
    • 1984, US Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports[4], page 74:
      Medicare data was "younged" by a month to achieve conformity with the conventional completed ages recorded in the census.
  3. (geology) To exhibit younging.
    • 1994, R. Kerrich, D.A. Wyman, “The mesothermal gold-lamprophyre association”, in Mineralogy and Petrology, →DOI:
      Shoshonitic magmatism younged southwards in the Superior Province, commensurate with the southwardly diachronous accretion of allochthonous subprovinces.
    • 2001 November 23, Paul Tapponnier et al., “Oblique Stepwise Rise and Growth of the Tibet Plateau”, in Science[5], volume 294, number 5547, →DOI, pages 1671–1677:
      The existence of magmatic belts younging northward implies that slabs of Asian mantle subducted one after another under ranges north of the Himalayas.


Middle English young definition



  1. Alternative form of yong