In a comedy series a mother is buying her children (two kids) some shoes. They're too big for their feet.

Here's the conversation

  • Mom, these are at least two sizes too big

  • Perfect, you'll grow into them

  • When?

  • Oh, you're both way overdue for a spurt.

What does the last sentence mean?

  • Malcolm in the Middle, I think?
    – djechlin
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 3:25

2 Answers 2


The mother is talking about growth spurts, which occur during the teenage years.

growth spurt Pediatrics A period of rapid growth in middle adolescence

The mother is saying that she expects the children to have a growth spurt soon, so she'd rather buy shoes that are a little too big than ones they will grow out of before they have been worn for very long. As you said, it's comedy. Any parent who has seen a child quickly grow out of an expensive pair of tennis shoes might chuckle at her remark.

You probably already learned about these in health class, but for the sake of completeness, you can read more about growth spurts on Wikipedia.

  • @ J.R so,here ''overdue for something'' can be interpreted as something that's likely to happen soon? because the dictionaries say it means ''late or behind the schedule''.
    – Masih K
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 15:24
  • 1
    Yes, that's right. It's behind schedule, or it should have happened already, so it's bound to happen soon.
    – BLT
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 16:35
  • @MasihK - That’s the idea. No one really knows when growth spurts happen anyway, so, in this case, it’s a fairly informal usage of the phrase. It means about the same as “a [growth] spurt could happen any time now."
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 19:19

Spurt, in this context, is referring to a growth spurt.

growth spurt
an occurrence of growing quickly and suddenly in a short period of time
—"Growth Spurt." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016 (link).

growth spurt
A period of rapid growth in middle adolescence; ♀ ↑ ±8 cm/yr ±age 12; ♂ ↑ ±10 cm/yr ± age 14; GS is orderly, affecting acral parts–ie, hands and feet grow before proximal regions, partly explaining adolescent clumsiness
—growth spurt. (n.d.) McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. (2002). Retrieved November 20 2016 (link).

  • That's a weird usage of ‘±’. Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 9:27

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