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An adult is someone grown up completely, or is not a child anymore. 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.

In biology, a person is considered an adult when they are sexually mature. This means that they have begun or passed through puberty, and are able to sexually reproduce.[1][2]

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. In many countries, this age is 18 years. However, in Japan and South Korea, it is 19 or 20 years old. 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 say a person is an adult from an age of 12 years on, for example see Bar Mitzvah.


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

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