An adult can mean different things. In the law and social norms, an adult is a human who has reached the age of majority (for example, in most countries, an adult is a person who is 18 years old or older). Once someone reaches the age of majority, that person typically no longer has to take directions from a parent or guardian but rather can make decisions for themselves and be held responsible for their own actions. By opposite, a person who has not yet reached the age of majority is a minor.
There are many additional laws that determine from what age a person is allowed to do something; for example, vote, drink alcohol, and have sexual intercourse. For example, in the United States, a person becomes an adult on their 18th birthday, but they cannot buy alcoholic beverages until they turn 21.
In biology, a person is considered an adult physically when they are sexually mature. This means that they have begun or passed through the physical puberty, and are able to sexually reproduce. Mentally and emotionally, a person is considered a full grown adult in their mid-twenties.
- International Dictionary of Medicine and Biology (1986)
- Churchill’s Medical Dictionary (1989)
- Rew, Martin. "Religion and development I: Anthropology, Islam, transnationalism and emerging analyses of violence against women." Progress in Development Studies 11.1 (2011): 69-76.
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