Juvenile vs juvenal

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Juvenile and juvenal are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the meaning of the words juvenile and juvenal, the very specific instance in which the word juvenal is used, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Juvenile describes something that relates to young people or animals, a youngster or someone under the legal age of adulthood. Juvenile may be used as an adjective or a noun. The word juvenile is derived from the Latin word juvenis, which means a young person.

Juvenal is employed when describing the first growth of true feathers on a bird, used in the term juvenal plumage. This variant spelling of the word juvenal was introduced by the ornithologist Jonathan Dwight in 1900. The term juvenal plumage is often seen in American ornithology, though British ornithologists usually use the term juvenile plumage. Juvenal is also the name of a Roman satirist who lived at the time of Domitian, during the first and part of the second centuries. In this case, the term is capitalized as in Juvenal.


Attorneys today presented closing arguments for a Lucas County Juvenile Court judge to decide whether a teenager will transfer to the adult system. (The Toledo Blade)

When the Baltara Special School was formed in 1961, it was a mere classroom for “troubled boys” attached to a centre for foster kids and juvenile offenders.  (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Providing for her two cubs through the unforgiving winter is her top priority, since the juvenile animals are still unable to hunt for themselves, but competition from other snow leopards could prove perilous to their survival. (The Hollywood Reporter)

A herring gull chick born in June or early July will lose its natal down and develop juvenal plumage by the end of August. (The Orillia Packet & Times)

A friend of Taylor came up with the name, a take-off of the line written by Roman satirical poet Juvenal, in a passage about pleasing the masses. (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader)