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How To Say "Adult" In Spanish

When it comes to learning a new language, understanding common terms is crucial. In this guide, we will explore how to say the term "adult" in Spanish, along with its various meanings, and provide some sample sentences to help you practice. Whether you are a language enthusiast or planning to travel to a Spanish-speaking country, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need.

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What is "Adult" in Spanish?

In Spanish, the term "adult" can be translated in several ways, depending on the context and the specific region where the language is spoken. Here are the main translations:

  • Adulto (IPA: /aˈ This is the most common and widely used term for "adult" in Spanish. It refers to a person who has reached the age of maturity. The plural form is "adultos."
  • Mayor de edad (IPA: /maˈʝor de eˈðad/): This expression literally means "of legal age." It is often used in a legal context to indicate someone who has reached the age at which they are considered legally responsible. The plural form is "mayores de edad."
  • Persona adulta (IPA: /peɾˈsona aˈdul.ta/): This phrase translates to "adult person" and is a more formal way of referring to an adult. It can be used in both singular and plural forms, such as "personas adultas" for "adults."
  • Maduro (IPA: /maˈdu.ɾo/): While "maduro" primarily means "ripe" or "mature," it can also be used to describe an adult in a figurative sense. It's not as common as "adulto" but can be used in certain contexts.

Meaning of "Adult" in Spanish

To fully understand the meaning of the term "adult" in Spanish, it is important to recognize that the language can vary across different regions and countries. In general, an adult is someone who has reached the age of maturity, typically 18 or older. However, the legal definition of adulthood may vary from one place to another. Here is a closer look at the term's meaning:

  • Legal Age: In many Spanish-speaking countries, the legal age of adulthood is set at 18 years old. This is the age at which individuals are granted certain legal rights and responsibilities, such as the ability to vote, enter into contracts, and marry without parental consent.
  • Responsibilities: Being an adult also implies taking on various responsibilities, such as financial independence, making important life decisions, and contributing to society through work or other means.
  • Maturity: Adulthood is often associated with emotional and psychological maturity, as individuals are expected to handle life's challenges with greater resilience and wisdom.
  • Age of Consent: The age at which an individual can legally engage in sexual activity, known as the age of consent, may differ from one country or region to another. It is essential to be aware of the local laws and regulations regarding this matter.
  • Drinking and Smoking: The legal drinking age and the legal age to purchase and consume tobacco products can vary significantly from one Spanish-speaking country to another. In some places, these ages may be lower than 18.

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Regional Variations

Keep in mind that while the terms discussed above are generally understood across Spanish-speaking regions, there may be regional variations and colloquial expressions. For instance, in some Latin American countries, the term "mayor de edad" may be more commonly used than "adulto."

How to Say "Adult" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "adult" in Spanish: 

  • El joven cumplirá los 18 años y se convertirá en una persona adulta.

(He will turn 18 and become an adult.)

  • En muchos países, desde los 18 años las personas son consideradas mayores de edad.

(In many countries, people are considered adults from the age of 18.)

  • Los adultos tienen responsabilidades y obligaciones en la sociedad.

(Adults have responsibilities and obligations in society.)

  • Los médicos tratan a los pacientes adultos de forma diferente que a los niños.

(Doctors treat adult patients differently than children.)

  • Es importante que los adultos establezcan límites claros para los niños.

(It's important for adults to set clear boundaries for children.)

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In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the various ways to say the term "adult" in Spanish, including its meanings and regional variations. Whether you are learning the language or need to navigate legal and cultural contexts, understanding these expressions is crucial. From "adulto" to "mayor de edad," Spanish offers several options to convey the concept of adulthood. Practice using these terms in context to enhance your language skills, and remember that language can be dynamic, with regional nuances that add depth to your communication.

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