I read the following sentence

She is tall for her age.

Now I'm greatly confused about its meaning. Does it mean "she would have as long age as she is tall" (perhaps showing prediction) Or "she is as tall as her age"

Which meaning is correct or is there a third meaning?

  • 1
    In this context, "for her age" means the same as "compared with other people of her own age".
    – Erik Kowal
    Nov 18, 2014 at 8:35
  • 3
    It's also worth emphasizing that the expression "tall for [one's] age" applies only to non-adults. You would never refer to a 45-year-old as "tall for her age"—even if, objectively, she is.
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:18
  • 1
    @SvenYargs but you can say of a woman that She looks good for her age; and of a man, He looks fits/young for his age.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 18, 2014 at 12:43
  • 2
    Yes - the "for his/her age" is based on a presumption of a changing situation with age. Since after youth, height is fixed with age but health is not, you have the reversal. Nobody says a child "looks good for her age"
    – Oldcat
    Nov 18, 2014 at 20:17
  • It's also worth noting that it's typically used not in comparison to other people of the same age but rather other women of that age. Apr 10, 2015 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


She is tall for her age

This means that she is noticeably taller than the average height of girls her age.


It's the same kind of "for" as you find in:

  • "It's warm for December" - the temperature is not high in an absolute sense, but is high within the range of temperature that one might expect to find in December.

  • "That's a good effort for a beginner" - the result is not particularly good in an absolute sense, but is good within the range of results that one might expect from a beginner

  • "She is tall for her age" - she is not tall in an absolute sense, but within the range of heights of people her age, she is at the tall end.

This is usage #11 within Wiktionary: for - Preposition


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