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A person who by virtue of attaining a certain age, generally eighteen, is regarded in the eyes of the law as being able to manage his or her own affairs.

The age specified by law, called the legal age of majority, indicates that a person acquires full legal capacity to be bound by various documents, such as contracts and deeds, that he or she makes with others and to commit other legal acts such as voting in elections and entering marriage. The age at which a person becomes an adult varies from state to state and often varies within a state, depending upon the nature of the action taken by the person. Thus, a person wishing to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle may be considered an adult at age sixteen, but may not reach adulthood until age eighteen for purposes of marriage, or age twenty-one for purposes of purchasing intoxicating liquors.

Anyone who has not reached the age of adulthood is legally considered an infant.


noun adultus, elder, fully developed person, fully grown person, grown-up person, mature person, one who has attained legal majority, person of age, person of voting age, pubes, senior
Associated concepts: adult male, adult person, adult woman, age of majority
See also: ripe


a person who has attained the age of legal majority.

ADULT, in the civil law. An infant who, if a boy, has attained his full age of fourteen years, and if a girl, her full age of twelve. Domat, Liv. Prel. t. 2, s. 2, n. 8. In the common law an adult is considered one of full age. 1 Swanst. R. 553.

References in periodicals archive ?
None so far, however, have examined diet during adolescence or early adulthood, a period when breast cancer risk factors appear to be particularly important.
This biography of Einstein begins with an engaging account of his childhood and early adulthood, and then focuses on the "annus mirabilis" or "miracle year" of 1905, when Einstein created his most important work, "The Theory of Relativity.
Factors that are associated with teenagers' postponing sexual initiation are not, for the most part, protective against STDs in early adulthood, according to an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Smoking and coffee consumption generally begin in early adulthood.
Blood levels peak in early adulthood, around age 20, and then decline greatly during the human lifespan, falling by about 80% in the elderly.
Darger's life story, which follows a classic Depression-era narrative from a lonely, underprivileged childhood spent in orphanages, boys' homes, and a hospital for the "feeble-minded" through a wanderlust-filled early adulthood to his now-familiar late life as a grizzled, unassuming janitor and clandestine artist, is delineated in bits and pieces throughout the film via a handful of photographs, stock footage, and interview snippets with acquaintances.
FREQUENT use of cannabis during adolescence and early adulthood increases the risk of suffering psychotic symptoms in later life, research shows.
Older children are likely to die in early adulthood without a transplant, and babies are unlikely to reach their first birthday.
It is estimated that 45 million people in the United States have acne, which is the most common skin disorder of adolescence and early adulthood (ages 15-24 years) with a prevalence of approximately 85%.
From her early adulthood, the New Jersey native confronts personal and professional challenges head on: going off to college in Boston and jetting off to the Caribbean for her first professional job.
In Raising a Daughter, Jeanne and Don Elium address these challenges and guide parents through each stage of a girl's development, from infancy through middle childhood, the teen years, and early adulthood.

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