Adult in different languages

Adult in Different Languages

Discover 'Adult' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'adult' carries great significance in our lives as it signifies the transition from childhood to a stage of maturity, responsibility, and independence. This transformation is not only biological but also cultural, as societies around the world have their unique rites of passage and customs that mark this critical life event.

Did you know that the term 'adult' has its roots in the Latin word 'adultus,' which means 'grown-up' or 'mature'? This term has been used in the English language since the 15th century, reflecting the timeless nature of this life stage.

Understanding the translation of 'adult' in different languages can provide valuable insights into how various cultures perceive and celebrate this critical life transition. For instance, in Spanish, 'adulto' emphasizes the maturity and wisdom that come with age, while in Japanese, 'otona' highlights the social responsibilities and status that come with adulthood.

Join us as we explore the many translations of the word 'adult' and delve into the fascinating cultural contexts that surround it.


Adult in Sub-Saharan African Languages

The term comes via the Dutch form of 'vole' and the Germanic 'walus' from proto-Indo-European 'wel' signifying power, dominance, maturity or age.
The word "ጎልማሳ" in Amharic can also refer to a "servant" or "helper".
"babba" can also refer to a term of respect or a person of high rank.
Igbo word "okenye" derives from the root "-kenye" (old), implying an adult or elderly person.
The Malagasy word "olon-dehibe" can also refer to a person who has reached a certain level of maturity, experience, or social status.
Nyanja (Chichewa)wamkulu
The Nyanja word "wamkulu" can also mean "elderly person" or "respected person."
Mukuru (adult) comes from the root word 'kuru' which means to be grown or mature.
Somaliqaangaar ah
The word "qaangaar ah" is derived from the Somali word "qaange", which means "to grow" or "to mature".
Sesothomotho e moholo
The term "motho e moholo" can be literally translated into English as "big person", highlighting the importance of age and seniority in traditional Sesotho culture.
Swahilimtu mzima
Mtu mzima literally translates to "complete person" in Swahili.
Xhosaumntu omdala
The Xhosa word "umntu omdala" (adult) can also mean an "elderly person" or "ancestor".
The word "agbalagba" also means "an old and wise person" in Yoruba language.
Zuluumuntu omdala
The word for "adult" in Zulu, "umuntu omdala," also connotes respect and wisdom.
Eweame tsitsi
Lugandaomuntu omukulu
Sepedimotho yo mogolo
Twi (Akan)ɔpanyin

Adult in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

The word 'بالغ' in Arabic, while primarily denoting 'adult', also means 'having reached the age of puberty' or 'having fully matured'.
The word "mbugar" in Hebrew also means "respected" or "worthy of respect".
The Pashto word "بالغ" also has the alternate meaning of "mature" or "developed".
The word 'بالغ' in Arabic, while primarily denoting 'adult', also means 'having reached the age of puberty' or 'having fully matured'.

Adult in Western European Languages

Albaniani rritur
The Albanian word “i rritur” is derived from the Latin word “adultus,” which means “grown up”.
The Basque word "heldua" comes from the same root as the word "heldu", meaning "to arrive, to reach", implying "one who has arrived at full maturity."
"Adult" derives from the Latin word "adolescere" meaning "to grow up", and is related to the words "adolescent" and "adultery."
Croatianodrasla osoba
The word "odrasla osoba" comes from the Old Slavonic word "odrostiti" meaning "to grow into maturity"
Voksen is also used in some Danish expressions to refer to a specific animal's age group.
The word "volwassen" derives from the Dutch words "vol" (full) and "wassen" (grow), indicating that an adult is fully grown.
The word "adult" derives from the Latin word "adultus," meaning "grown up" or "mature."
In French, the term "adulte" derives from Latin "adolescere," meaning "to grow" or "to reach maturity," while in English, it signifies "someone who has reached legal maturity."
The word "folwoeksen" also means "grown-up" or "mature" in Frisian.
'Adulto' can also mean 'elderly' in Galician.
The word "Erwachsene" derives from the Old High German "irwahsan," meaning "grown up" or "full-grown."
Fullorðinn is an Old Norse derivative of the noun orð, meaning “speech, word,” suggesting someone who has reached the age of reason and may now speak for himself.
Irishduine fásta
The term 'duine fásta' literally translates to 'firm person', as opposed to a child, who may still be unsteady on their feet.
The Italian word "adulto" derives from the Latin word "adultus", meaning "grown up" or "full-grown".
The term 'erwuessener' is derived from the German/Low Franconian/Dutch term 'erwachsen'. This is also where the German name for adult, namely 'Erwachsene(r)' derives from.
In Maltese, "adult" can also refer to a married person or someone of marriageable age.
"Voksen" is cognate with the English "wax" as both words originate from the Old Norse "vǫxtr" meaning "growth".
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)adulto
The word "adulto" in Portuguese is derived from the Latin word "adultus," which means "grown up" or "mature."
Scots Gaelicinbheach
The word "inbheach" is also used to mean "mature" or "ripe."
The Spanish word 'adulto' can also be used to refer to a mature animal or a plant that has reached a certain level of growth.
The word 'vuxen' is derived from the Proto-Germanic word '*wuhsaz*', meaning 'grown' or 'mature'.
The Welsh word "oedolyn" can also mean "grown-up", "mature", or "experienced".

Adult in Eastern European Languages

Belarusian "дарослы" shares a common root with Slavic "дорослый", meaning someone able to care for the family and "grow" their household.
Bosnianodrasla osoba
The word "odrasla osoba" in Bosnian may also refer to a guardian or a person who is mature and responsible.
The Bulgarian word "възрастен" derives from "възраст", meaning "age", and also means "mature".
"Dos-pělý" comes from "to mature" while the English "adult" comes from the Latin "to grow".
The word "täiskasvanud" in Estonian is derived from the words "täis" (full) and "kasvanud" (grown), implying a state of maturity and completion.
The word "aikuinen" is derived from the Proto-Finnic word "*aiko", meaning "time".
The word "felnőtt" originally meant "grown up" or "mature" in Hungarian, but it has also come to mean "adult" in the sense of "a person who is legally responsible for their actions".
The Latvian word "pieaugušais" derives from "augt" (to grow), and it originally meant "mature", "full-grown".
"Suaugęs" shares the root "aug" with "išaugti" ("to grow up"), implying that adults are those who have fully grown.
Возраст (возрасен) can also refer to a mature, grown, or seasoned individual
The word "dorosły" is derived from the Slavic root "*dorti-", meaning "to be firm" or "to be solid".
In Romanian, the word "adult" can also refer to a type of flower called the marigold.
The word "взрослый" (adult) is derived from the Old Russian word "възрасть" (age, maturity).
Serbianодрасла особа
The Serbian word for “adult”, “одрасла особа”, derives from the verb “одрасти” meaning to mature and become older.
The Slovak word "dospelý" originally meant "achieved" and was first applied to adults only later.
Slovenianodrasla oseba
The word "odrasla oseba" comes from the Proto-Slavic word "*doraslъ", which means "fully grown".
"Дорослий" (adult) is derived from the verb "рости" (to grow) and means "having reached maturity".

Adult in South Asian Languages

The word "প্রাপ্তবয়স্ক" can also mean "mature" or "developed".
The word 'પુખ્ત' ('adult') in Gujarati is derived from the Sanskrit word 'प्रौढ' ('mature') and its equivalent in some Indo-Aryan languages.
The word वयस्क derives from the Sanskrit root वृध् (vṛdh), meaning "to grow" or "to increase", and originally referred to a period of transition in a person's life.
The word "ವಯಸ್ಕ" in Kannada originates from the Sanskrit word "वयस्क" (vayaska), which means "mature".
`प्रौढ` comes from Sanskrit and means 'grown up' or 'advanced in years'
The Nepali word "वयस्क" can trace its roots back to the Indo-Aryan root word "vaj", which means "to be strong" or "to grow up".
ਬਾਲਗ can also be used to describe 'a young person, a child'
Sinhala (Sinhalese)වැඩිහිටි
වැඩිහිටි is also used to refer to the older siblings, and especially to an elder sister.
Tamilவயது வந்தோர்
The term "வயது வந்தோர்" can also refer to grown-up children or to people who have attained puberty.
"వయోజన" is derived from the Sanskrit word "वयो+जन्", meaning "age" and "birth". It literally means "one who has attained the age".
"بالغ" can also mean "mature" or "grown-up" in Urdu.

Adult in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)成人
成 means 'become', 人 means 'human'; 'adult' is literally 'one who has become a person'.
Chinese (Traditional)成人
The word "成人" (adult), when split into its characters, can mean "accomplished person," highlighting the significance of personal development in traditional Chinese culture.
The word "大人" in Japanese means more than just "adult"--it's also used to refer to someone who is mature, reliable, or a leader.
The Korean word "성인" (adult) was originally a loanword from Chinese meaning "a person or thing that stands on its own".
Mongolianнасанд хүрсэн
"Насанд хүрсэн" in Mongolian can also refer to a person who has reached the age of legal majority, which is 18 years old.
Myanmar (Burmese)အရွယ်ရောက်သူ

Adult in South East Asian Languages

The word "dewasa" (adult) in Indonesian is derived from the Sanskrit word "devas" (deity), implying a higher level of maturity and wisdom.
Javanesewong diwasa
The term "wong diwasa" can also be used to refer to a person of high status or authority.
The word “មនុស្សពេញវ័យ” can also mean "a person who is fully developed, especially a person who is mature and responsible"
The term "dewasa" originally meant "mature" but its usage has since broadened to encompass "responsible" and "independent" as well.
The term "ผู้ใหญ่" in Thai can also refer to respected elders or individuals with a higher social status.
Vietnamesengười lớn
"Người lớn" (adult) in Vietnamese literally means "big person".
Filipino (Tagalog)nasa hustong gulang

Adult in Central Asian Languages

"Yetkin" originates from the Arabic word "yatīm" (orphan), and also refers to a "grown-up child" or "mature person".
The Kazakh word "ересек" also means "ripe", referring to the maturity of an adult.
Kyrgyzбойго жеткен
The word "бойго жеткен" in Kyrgyz initially referred to a person who had reached adulthood and was considered a full member of society, capable of participating in decision-making and taking on responsibilities.
"Калосол" is a word for "old man" in Uzbek but it is a very rarely-used loan word in Tajik, which is instead used to mean "adult" or "grown up".
Turkmenuly ýaşly
The Uzbek word "kattalar" can also be translated as "old"
Uyghurقۇرامىغا يەتكەنلەر

Adult in Pacific Languages

Makua can also refer to 'ancestor, parent or grandparent' and shares an etymology with the Marquesan 'matua' (meaning 'male ancestor').
The word 'pakeke' can also refer to an elderly person or an experienced person
The word 'matua' in Samoan can refer to both a biological or adoptive parent or a person who has achieved elder status in the community.
Tagalog (Filipino)matanda na
"Matanda na" is not just a descriptor for someone who is old but also an expression used to describe someone who acts in a mature manner.

Adult in American Indigenous Languages

Aymarajilïr jaqi

Adult in International Languages

The word "plenkreskulo" is derived from "plena" (full) and "kresko" (grow), thus meaning someone who has fully grown.
The Latin word "adultus" originally meant "grown up" or "mature", but it has come to mean "an individual who has reached the age of majority" in modern usage.

Adult in Others Languages

The original meaning of ενήλικας was an able-bodied male or, more accurately, a capable or mature male.
Hmongneeg laus
The word "neeg laus" is derived from the Chinese word "年老", meaning "old age".
The Kurdish word "gihîştî" originally meant "arrived" and only later came to be used as a noun to refer to adults
The word "yetişkin" is derived from the verb "yetişmek," meaning "to mature" or "to grow up."
Xhosaumntu omdala
The Xhosa word "umntu omdala" (adult) can also mean an "elderly person" or "ancestor".
The Yiddish word "דערוואַקסן" (adult) is derived from the German "erwachsen," which literally means "grown up."
Zuluumuntu omdala
The word for "adult" in Zulu, "umuntu omdala," also connotes respect and wisdom.
Aymarajilïr jaqi
Bhojpuriवयस्क के बा
Dhivehiބޮޑެތި މީހުންނެވެ
Filipino (Tagalog)nasa hustong gulang
Kriobig pɔsin
Kurdish (Sorani)گەورەساڵان
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯑꯦꯗꯜꯇ ꯑꯣꯏꯕꯥ꯫
Oromonama guddaa
Odia (Oriya)ବୟସ୍କ
Quechuakuraq runa
Tigrinyaዓቢ ሰብ
Tsongamunhu lonkulu

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