Meaning of “grown up” in the English Dictionary

"grown up" in British English

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grown upadjective

uk /ˌɡrəʊn ˈʌp/ us /ˌɡroʊn ˈʌp/

B2 If you say that someone is grown up, you mean that they are an adult or that they behave in a responsible way:

He seems very grown up for a ten-year-old.
This book is a bit too grown up for you (= you are too young to understand this book).
[ before noun ] She has two grown-up children who work in the family business.

More examples

  • They're a middle-aged couple, with grown-up children.
  • My children are all grown-up now.
  • She seems very sensible and grown-up.
  • I have to be a bit more grown-up for work.
  • I don't feel very grown-up.

grown-upnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈɡrəʊn.ʌp/ us /ˈɡroʊn.ʌp/

B2 an adult, used especially when talking to children:

Ask a grown-up to cut the shape out for you.

More examples

  • The 12A certificate means that you can't that film unless you have a grown-up with you.
  • "I'm scared, Dad." "Yes, I know, and sometimes grown-ups get scared and worried too, you know."
  • Let's stay calm and try to behave like grown-ups, shall we?
  • There should always be at least one grown-up on duty in the playground.
  • I don't want to sit with the grown-ups - I want to go and play with the other kids.

(Definition of “grown up” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"grown-up" in American English

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grown-upnoun [ C ]

us /ˈɡroʊnˌʌp/

an adult:

The grown-ups sat inside while the children played in the yard.
adjective [ not gradable ] us /ˈɡroʊnˌʌp/

She has three grown-up sons.

(Definition of “grown-up” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)