This is from ReVo:


There must be a better word that this. This doesn't really role off the tongue very well. Is there an official word for teenager?

  • 1
    The obvious but trivial answer to this question is "no". "Official" means something very specific in Esperanto - and is not directly related to whether a word or expression is used or makes sense. Perhaps you should ask "how do you say" or "what is the best way to say" Jan 11, 2017 at 13:58
  • What do you exactly mean by official?
    – Omid
    Jan 11, 2017 at 14:08
  • Official: relating to an authority or public body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities.
    – Lumo5
    Jan 11, 2017 at 14:42
  • "Official" with regard to Esperanto means made official by the Akademio. It doesn't add anything to the apparent intention of your question (to find a reasonable expression which is easier for you to say.) Jan 11, 2017 at 15:07
  • 1
    @Lumo5 If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about official words sanctioned by Akademio de Esperanto. IMO, common usage is what really matters and the answers provided are pretty good. You should search in their database if you are looking for something strictly official: akademio-de-esperanto.org/akademia_vortaro/index.html
    – Omid
    Jan 11, 2017 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


As has been mentioned, "official" means officially approved by the Akademio, and I don't know whether any particular word is or isn't. But as for words in common usage, the ones I've most commonly seen are "junul(in)o" and "adoleskanto". Both are somewhat more broad than the English word "teenager", which covers the specific ages between 13 and 18 or 19.

"Adoleskanto" is, I think, closer to the meaning of "teenager"; it literally translates to "adolescent", so indicates someone in that transition time between child and adult. PIV defines "adoleskanto" as "Junulo inter 14 k 20 jaroj" and "adoleskantino" as "Junulino inter 12 k 18 jaroj", but as far as I know most people don't hold to that narrow of a definition. ReVo's definition is broader, in regards to both age and gender; it reads simply "Juna homo seksmatura, ankoraŭ ne plenkreskinta" ("Young person who is sexually mature, not yet full-grown").

"Junul(in)o" is a significantly broader term; it literally means "young person" or "youth", and includes basically anything from 12 years old to 35 (different people have a different range of what they consider juna, so usage varies somewhat).

I myself, for example, am 23 years old; I wouldn't refer to myself as an adoleskanto, but would certainly still call myself a junulino.


Possibilities include:

  • dekkelkjarulo
  • adoleskulo/adoleskanto
  • junulo

All are pretty common and mean slightly different things.

  • Would you consider neplenkreskulo a possibility? I like its symmetry with plenkreskulo. Jan 11, 2017 at 15:37
  • I'm not sure it matters what I would consider. I'll say, however, that the difference between neplenkrekulo and infano isn't immediately obvious. It's also not a word I recall seeing anybody else use. Jan 11, 2017 at 15:59

The concept teenager has naturally sprung from the English language, where the numerals 13-19 have the ending -teen. A later invention, also drawn primarily from the vocabulary, is a tweenager or tween. The question is – had the English numerals and preposition ”between” sounded differently, would we stil have concepts translatable as t(w)eenager? My point is, human growth is a continuum, and where childhood transitions to youth transitions to adulthood is largely a matter of culture. Is a 12 year old sexually mature girl an adult? Is a 15 year old sexually immature boy a child? teenager (and tweenager) provides a handy label for those years where Westerners don’t really know where they are…

Is there a need for a direct Esperanto translation of the word teenager? I honestly don’t know. I think in most cases adoleskanto or junulo would do just fine. In some translations, however, it might perhaps be necessary to accurately recreate the Western notion of ’teenager’. We have to look at the Esperanto numerals… Which slang term would naturally spring from them? Dek, dek unu, dek du, dek tri… Maybe dekplusulo? That, of course, would include 11 year-olds and 12 year-olds, just like the ”tongue-breaker” dekkelkjarulo. In English, 11 and 12 year olds are still children, since 11 and 12 don’t end in -teen. Funny how language really does shape our world, isn’t it? :-)

  • Interesting thought
    – Lumo5
    Jan 12, 2017 at 13:56
  • Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's probably worth pointing out that dekplusulo is a word that you came up with yourself and is not actually in use anywhere. As for the general theme of your answer (which I would summarize as "teen" might not be an universal concept), I certainly agree. Jan 23, 2017 at 12:03

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