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a. a period of history marked by some feature or characteristic; era
b. (capital when part of a name): the Middle Ages; the Space Age
2. Geology palaeontol
a. a period of the earth's history distinguished by special characteristics
b. the period during which a stage of rock strata is formed; a subdivision of an epoch
3. Myth any of the successive periods in the legendary history of man, which were, according to Hesiod, the golden, silver, bronze, heroic, and iron ages
4. Psychol the level in years that a person has reached in any area of development, such as mental or emotional, compared with the normal level for his chronological age
5. of age adult and legally responsible for one's actions (usually at 18 or, formerly, 21 years)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in humans, a stage of development that is characterized by specific regularities of formation of the organism and personality and by relatively stable morphophysiological and psychological traits. While age is a stage in the biological maturing of the organism, a process controlled by genetic factors, it is also a concrete result and stage of the social-psychological development of the personality and is determined by the conditions of life, training, and upbringing.

The content and form of training and upbringing are historically composed and varied according to age; in their turn they affect the determination of the boundaries and possibilities of a given age. In contemporary pedagogy and developmental psychology, several ages are differentiated with respect to the known relationships of the boundaries: infancy (from birth to one year); pre-preschool, or early childhood (from one to three); preschool (from three to seven); early school age (from seven to ten years); juvenile, or middle school (from ten to 15); and late school, or early youth (15 to 18 years old). Beyond these limits there is no generally accepted classification in the literature; only old age is considered separately. With the increased longevity noted in the 20th century, gerontology and gerontopsychology have arisen as disciplines to study the problems of prolonging the active life of a human being. Each age has a characteristic structure of cognitive, emotional, and volitional properties and qualities; forms of behavior; types of relationships to the environment; and peculiarities of structure and functioning of various organs and systems of the organism. This structure, however, is not invariable: in the 20th century a general acceleration of the physical and mental development of children has been noted. On the other hand, educational theory, in solving the problem of optimizing training, widens the possibilities of age and the boundaries of acquiring knowledge. Training must take into account not only the level of development achieved but also the development perspectives (the concept of “zones of imminent development,” as formulated by L. S. Vygotskii): the teacher must know not only what is present in a child of a given age but also what can be achieved, given certain conditions, by the child in the near future.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Period of time from origin or birth to a later time designated or understood; length of existence.
Any one of the named epochs in the history of the earth marked by specific phases of physical conditions or organic evolution, such as the Age of Mammals.
One of the smaller subdivisions of the epoch as geologic time, corresponding to the stage or the formation, such as the Lockport Age in the Niagara Epoch.


(aerospace engineering)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
This transformation is an interesting reconceptualization or subversion of the makeover that often occurs in coming of age films; the makeover scenes in films can involve teenaged girls like Tai in Clueless who are transformed from unfashionable to chic or even zombie characters like the male protagonist R in Warm Bodies who is made to look more human with the generous application of makeup; Axl's transformation happens in a more mysterious manner, and he does not initially think it is a desirable transformation, but the metamorphosis does allow him to develop some insight into how women perceive men.
Coming of Age is an antidote to despair, an honest response to the scary question I try not to ask myself or others, but sometimes do: "With the world in such misery, with human potential seeming at ebb, with the future of the planet and all its inhabitants held in such contempt by the powers that be, what is the point of going on?"
Born 1966-1990; coming of age '80s, '90s, early 2000s
Everyone who turned 20 in the past year celebrates on Coming of Age Day, which is referred to in Japanese as Seijin no Hi.
Critique: Exceptionally well written from beginning to end, "Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance" reads like a best-seller novel but is a true life memoir of a remarkable man who lived in horrific times and came through them to create a successful life despite what he had to overcome--or perhaps because of it!
Unitarian Universalists celebrate coming of age in a ceremony that marks the end of learning about spiritual and other issues surrounding growing up.
More than a 'coming of age' tale, "Sarah's Girls" evokes lives lived in a yesteryear community and although a work of fiction, is one of those compelling and superbly crafted novels that reveals deeper truths about the human condition than most biographies.
Elements of intrigue and the supernatural lend to a unusual love story and coming of age tale.
Our Coming of Age feature on India looks at 17-year-old Anupam Kumar's struggle to get into a top university as a way to lead his family out of poverty; Times Past focuses on the birth of India and Pakistan in 1947, and Gandhi's role in the independence movement.
Contrary to popular belief, the sexual revolution (on a behavioral level) did not start in the 1960s, it was not ignited by the introduction of the birth control pill, it was not significantly fanned by the baby boomers' coming of age, and, most important of all, the sexualization of the popular culture did not anticipate the liberalization of mass behavior.
This is the story of Handy and others like him, as well as Richard Rubin's coming of age. Written with unrelenting truth and copious detail, Rubin's autobiography is searing, filled with racial slurs and graphic sexual facts.