All of us are aware of Peter Parker (aka Spiderman). From his dialogues, he tries to sound mature as if he were an adult, though he is 14.

Okay, let's come to the question, what do you call a child who behaves like an adult and tries to sound like grown ups?(but is still childish)

  • 3
    Historically childhood ends around 12…
    – jmoreno
    Feb 25, 2023 at 15:54
  • @jmoreno It depends on the context, often teenagers are considered children.
    – Barmar
    Feb 25, 2023 at 23:48
  • @Barmar: no, in some current circumstances people in their early twenties may be considered children, and frequently late teens (18 and 19) are still considered children, but HISTORICALLY that is not the case. Contracts, such as apprenticeships, would be considered legally binding for instance. A 13 year old working 12+ hours a day would be considered normal throughout most of history.
    – jmoreno
    Feb 26, 2023 at 0:11
  • @jmoreno When there's a school shooting, the students who are impacted will practically always be referred to as "our children", even if it's a high school.
    – Barmar
    Feb 26, 2023 at 0:13
  • 1
    @True. But we're not talking about how English was spoken a century ago. Currently, we frequently call anyone who isn't an adult a child. In other contexts we make finer gradations: infant, toddler, child, tween, teenager, young adult, adult.
    – Barmar
    Feb 26, 2023 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


Such a child is called precocious. Merriam-Webster defines the word as:

exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age

You could also say that he is very mature for his age.

  • 2
    Precocious is a different thing to me. A precocious child is someone who (especially intellectually) has developed ahead of the norm for their age. A 12-year-old taking advanced calculus classes in uni is precocious, even if they otherwise behave like a typical 12-year-old. Conversely, a child can easily try to come off as more of an adult than they actually are by imitating adult behaviours and speech patterns, even though they’re no more intellectually developed than the average. As I understand it, the question here is looking for a word for the latter, rather than the former. Feb 25, 2023 at 16:41
  • I believe that the Norwegian word "veslevoksen" fits the description in the answer, and "precocious" is a common translation. no.wiktionary.org/wiki/veslevoksen Feb 25, 2023 at 17:41

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