You can use the old-fashioned noun stripling to talk about a teenager, though few people these days will know what you’re talking about.

Like many old words in English, the -ling in this one clues you up that it’s a smaller version of the real thing. Exactly how the strip part applies is lost in the mists of time, but it may have to do with being thin as a strip from lacking the muscular development of full manhood: the word stripling is a somewhat poetic epithet for a youth.

Definitions of stripling
  1. noun

    a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity

    adolescent, teen, teenager
    see moresee less


    show 6 types…
    hide 6 types…

    a Palestinian juvenile 10-15 years old who fights against the Israelis

    a British teenager or young adult in the 1960s; noted for their clothes consciousness and opposition to the rockers

    a Mexican-American teenager who belongs to a neighborhood gang and who dresses in showy clothes
    punk, punk rocker

    a teenager or young adult who is a performer (or enthusiast) of punk rock and a member of the punk youth subculture

    a teenager or young adult in the 1960s who wore leather jackets and rode motorcycles
    young buck, young man

    a teenager or a young adult male
    type of:

    juvenile, juvenile person

    a young person, not fully developed

Word Family