Legal Age Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Legal Age, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Legal Age?

(n) Legal age is the statutory age for attaining majority by which a person can enter in to a legitimate and valid contract with others and put himself responsible for all actions taken by him. The legal age for different actions are however different, like the legal age for marriage, signing of contract, buying alcohol etc

History and Meaning of Legal Age

Legal age refers to the age at which a person is recognized by law to be an adult and capable of making decisions on their own behalf. The concept of legal age dates back to ancient times when societies established ages of majority for different activities like joining the army or getting married. In modern times, the definition of legal age varies depending on the jurisdiction and the context.

In the United States, legal age typically ranges from 16 to 21 depending on the activity in question. For example, the legal age to vote and join the military is 18; the legal age to purchase tobacco and alcohol is 21; and the legal age to get married varies from state to state and can be as young as 16 with parental consent.

Examples of Legal Age

  • In Texas, the legal age for smoking and purchasing tobacco products is 21 as of September 1, 2019.
  • In most states in the US, the legal age for driving is 16 with a learner's permit and 18 for an unrestricted license.
  • In the UK, the legal age for sexual consent is 16.
  • In Japan, the legal age for drinking and purchasing alcohol is 20.

Legal Terms Similar to Legal Age

  • Age of majority: The age at which a person is legally recognized as an adult and is granted all the rights and responsibilities that come with it.
  • Age of consent: The age at which a person is considered capable of giving informed consent to sexual activity.
  • Emancipation: The legal process by which a minor becomes independent from their parents or guardians and assumes legal responsibility for their own decisions.