living organism that has reached sexual maturity
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An adult is a person who is grown up completely. The person is already past the child stage. It is the phase after being a teenager. Once someone reaches adulthood, that person typically no longer has to take directions from a parent or guardian, but rather can make decisions for themselves. Legally speaking, adulthood is reached at 18 in most countries.

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.[1][2] Mentally and emotionally, a person is considered a full grown adult in their mid twenties. A person can be at legal age at 18, yet they're still in adolescence, their minds are still developing.

In most countries, someone is legally considered an adult when he or she is older than a certain age. This is called the Age of majority. Hitting the age of majority means that you are considered old enough to make your own decisions, and not having to be taken care of by your parents or other adults. In most countries, this age is 18 years. However, it varies from ages as low as 16 to as high as 21. 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.

There are also some cultures that says a person is an adult from an age of 13 years on, for example see Bar Mitzi, which usually corresponds to puberty.[3]


  1. International Dictionary of Medicine and Biology (1986)
  2. Churchill’s Medical Dictionary (1989)
  3. 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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