Definition of age of majority
age of majority (plural ages of majority)
- (law) The age at which the rights and privileges of an adult are legally granted.
- legal age
- age of consent
The age of majority is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualized (and recognized or declared) in law. It is the chronological moment when minors cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over and for them (generally age 18 or older). The word majority here refers to having greater years and being of full age; it is opposed to minority, the state of being a minor. The law in a given jurisdiction may never actually use the term "age of majority" and the term thereby refers to a collection of laws bestowing the status of adulthood. The age of majority is a legally fixed age, concept, or statutory principle, which may differ depending on the jurisdiction, and may not necessarily correspond to actual mental or physical maturity of an individual.
In practical terms, there are certain specific actions which a person who attains the age of majority is permitted to take, which they could not do before. These may include entering into a binding contract, buying stocks, voting, buying and/or consuming alcoholic beverages, driving motor vehicles on public roads, and marrying without obtaining consent of others. The ages at which these various rights or powers may be exercised vary as between the various rights and as between different jurisdictions. For example, the ages at which a person may obtain a license to drive a car or consume alcoholic beverages vary considerably between and also within jurisdictions. The age of majority is in the vast majority of countries 18, but ages as low as 16 and as high as 21 also exist. It should not be confused with the age of sexual consent, the driving age, the voting age, etc. Although a person may attain the age of majority in a particular jurisdiction, he or she may still be subject to age-based restrictions regarding matters such as the right to vote or stand for elective office, act as a judge, and many others.
The following list the age of majority in countries (or administrative divisions) as appropriate:
- North Korea
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- United States
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.