Another word for adolescence. The word puberty derives from the Latin pubertas: coming to the age of manhood.
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Sequence of events by which a child becomes a young adult, characterized by the beginning of gametogenesis, secretion of gonadal hormones, development of secondary sexual characteristics and reproductive functions; sexual dimorphism is accentuated. In girls, the first signs of p. may be evident at age 8 with the process largely completed by age 16; in boys, p. commonly begins at ages 10–12 and is largely completed by age 18. Ethnic and geographic factors may influence the time at which various events typical of p. occur. [L. pubertas, fr. puber, grown up]
- delayed p. lack of any signs of p. by age 14 years in either sex.
- precocious p. condition in which pubertal changes begin at an unexpectedly early age. This can involve the initiation of the normal hypothalamic-pituitary axis changes before the age of 8. Idiopathic is the most common reason.
- true precocious p. SYN: hyperovarianism.

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pu·ber·ty 'pyü-bərt-ē n, pl -ties
1) the condition of being or the period of becoming first capable of reproducing sexually marked by maturing of the genital organs, development of secondary sex characteristics, and in humans and the higher primates by the first occurrence of menstruation in the female
2) the age at which puberty occurs being typically between 13 and 16 years in boys and 11 and 14 in girls and often construed legally as 14 in boys and 12 in girls

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the time at which the onset of sexual maturity occurs and the reproductive organs become functional (see gonadarche). This is manifested in both sexes by the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics (e.g. deepening of the voice in boys; growth of breasts in girls) and in girls by the start of menstruation. These changes are brought about by an increase in sex hormone activity due to stimulation of the ovaries and testes by pituitary hormones. See also adrenarche, androgen, oestrogen, precocious puberty.
pubertal adj.

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pu·ber·ty (puґbər-te) [L. pubertas] the period during which the secondary sex characters begin to develop and the capability of sexual reproduction is attained. puberal, pubertal adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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