Thursday, May 29, 2008

I need a new word: A new no prize contest

It is becoming increasingly inaccurate to use the word "teenager" to describe my children: One is 24, another 23, another will turn 21 in a couple of months.

Only Younger Daughter and Youngest Son remain securely within the literal meaning of that term.

But... although the older ones do show signs of adult behavior, they also from time to time continue to display distinctly teen-like mannerisms. Which is OK... most people really don't grow up overnight. Long Suffering Spouse might tell you that I sometimes behave childishly... but that's another story.

I need a word to describe my post-teens... preferably one that could include the actual teens as well.

Adolescent seems a possible candidate. From and the American Heritage Dictionary:
The words adolescent and adult ultimately come from forms of the same Latin word, adolēscere, meaning "to grow up." The present participle of adolēscere, adolēscēns, from which adolescent derives, means "growing up," while the past participle adultus, the source of adult, means "grown up."
In the waning days of the Roman Republic the term adolēscēns could mean anyone who had not yet begun his ascension up the cursus honorum -- so a young Roman nobleman in his late 20s or even early 30s might, in Roman eyes, be considered an "adolescent." (See, Marc Antony.)

Talk about your extended adolescence....

But using "adolescent" to describe not-yet-fully-independent post-teens would change, if slightly, the common, presently understood meaning of the word. Such seemingly minor changes can lead to all sorts of major problems. (See, "marriage.")

So my present inclination would be to find another word. A new word. "Tweeners" or "tweens" comes to mind -- as in describing the state between teenagerhood and adulthood -- but these terms seem to be already in use for describing that period after the five or ten minutes presently alloted for innocent childhood and the beginning of teenager status. These terms seem to refer to girls, mostly, many of them apparently with aliases or secret identities. (See, Hannah Montana and/or Miley Cyrus.)

I thought about "beerager" as a possibility -- but that could be seen as pejorative and certainly would not include everyone in that age group anyway. "Extendeds" is probably my leading candidate -- short for extended adolescence -- and not, so far as I know, already taken.

But I'm open for suggestion... which is why I hereby announce another of my famous, likely-to-amount-to-nothing-at-all no prize contests. Give me your best word to describe that period in a person's life between the end of one's teens and the full assumption of adult responsibilities. Or tell me why I should stick with one of my proposed choices.

The winner will receive no prize other than the possible (though unlikely) esteem and awe of his or her blogging peers and my gratitude for participating.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

'Posteen' sounds good.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i thought of "yoman" for young woman and the counterpart for a male would be the same i think...

smiles, bee

Kacey said...

Twenteen, tweenteen-one, twenteen-two, twenteen-three.....
They would have to grow up by thirty, because thirteen has already been taken.

Mother Jones RN said...

We’ve all heard of menopause. Menopausal women are slightly over the hill. You know, getting old, but not old enough to ask for money in the form of social security. So, how about the term “meno-teen” for young adults who are slightly too old to be teenager, but not old enough to stop asking for money from their parents. Just a thought.


Shelby said...

well, how 'bout teenult or tanult(teenager/adult).. or adulteeger - nah, that sounds too adulterousish.

how about prepubescentfree?

too long probably, and too many p's.

ok, what about paradult (ya know, like paralegal..not really a legal type, but sorta).

just thots.

Lahdeedah said...

I'd go with post-teen, stick to the easy ones, but that implies 'close to teendom' and twenty-somethings despise association with teens (they are sooo much older).


I have two teens and two Twenters?

Mother Jones RN said...

Paradult! I love it!


74WIXYgrad said...

Here is how I refer to mine, ages 26, 24, and 22: adult children(not an oxymoron)

sari said...


Grown up teenagers.

Don't forget to credit me, ok?

Patti said...

Paradults is pretty good.