I have the sentence below:

Looking at the budding teenager mature made me feel old.

Is it right to describe someone who has recently become a teenager as budding?

If not, what word should I replace "budding" with? If possible, I would like an adjective to replace the word "budding".

According to the Macmillian Dictionary, the alternatives include "new", "emerging", "embryonic", "fledgling", "budding", "incipient", "dynamic", and "progressive".

Are any of the alternatives correct in describing someone who has recently entered a new phase of their life? Besides "fledgling", all alternatives seem awkward and unused; I am unsure, however, whether "fledgling" applies here.

I would prefer not to have a compound phrase in this sentence.

Thanks in advance.

  • It doesn't answer the specific question (just the title, perhaps), but related is to "turn over a new leaf", which means to start a fresh chapter in one's life, or leave one's past behind. The text and the title don't ask the same thing. Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 9:03
  • 2
    I don't think you need 'budding' and 'mature'. For example "watching the budding teenager", or "watching the maturing teenager", or "watching the teenager mature". I prefer the last, as it only contains one '-ing'. Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


If the teenager is maturing, I suggest that they are in the later stages of development and are better described as burgeoning rather than budding, which has the feeling of the beginnings of development.



You use budding to describe a situation that is just beginning.

Our budding romance was over. ...the budding private economy.



growing or developing quickly:



to become more developed mentally and emotionally and behave in a responsible way:

  • The examples in Lexico definitely show burgeoning means developing from something small and/or young. In contrast "budding", which literally means forming a bud, doesn't seem to fit for someone who's been alive 13 or more years. I think the OP wasn't entirely sure what they want to say, but this seems the best answer based on the information given.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 15:46
  • 'Blossoming' seems the better fit. Commented May 26, 2022 at 18:23

Biologically speaking, the word for this is adolescing— the verb form of adolescence.

to grow toward maturity : pass through adolescence

it is a young nation, still adolescing.

[Merriam Webster]

And according to Wikipedia:

Adolescence (from Latin adolescere 'to mature') is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority). Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later.

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