Nowadays, we say a girl becomes a naarah when she reaches age 12 and a bogeress, when she reaches age 12 1/2, at which point she is no longer called a naarah. At what age, or under what circumstances, do we stop considering her to be a bogeress and just refer to her as a woman?

  • 1
    Imagine the word 'bogeres' as you would the English word, 'adult' May 11, 2015 at 3:15

2 Answers 2


Bogeress is essentially an independent, mature woman. This happens 6 months after the physical, Halachic signs of puberty, but not before 12 and 1/2 years old. This the category she remains in for the rest of her life.

If a woman's puberty is delayed to 30 days into her 20th year (or another opinion is 30 days short of 20 years old) and she shows the Halachic signs of barrenness, she then has the status of Bogeress.

If she doesn't reach puberty but also doesn't have the signs of barrenness, she is a Bogeress at age 35.

This is discussed in Rambam Ishus Chapter 2 and Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 155.

  • Beyond this actual definition, it seems uncommon to refer to an older woman as a bogeress (define older as you like, perhaps 30, 50,70). Is there a connotation of youth? If not, under what conditions have you heard of an older woman referred to as a bogeress?
    – Yehuda W
    May 11, 2015 at 13:25

Bogeress in Hebrew literally means one who has matured and grown into a woman. She is a woman at that point; from then on. In other words, you stop referring to her as a bogeress the instant she becomes a bogeress because you cannot become an adult a second time.

  • Would you refer to a 60 year old woman as a bogeress? If there is no hard and fast rule, what is common useage?
    – Yehuda W
    May 10, 2015 at 22:32
  • Its not a rule that has an upper limit imho...its a word that means the transition from girl to woman is complete. Technically, you do not refer to a 14 year old as a bogeress either, because she already became a woman just like a 60 year old did. May 10, 2015 at 22:47
  • only a 12 and a half year old is a bogeress, just like a 13 year old boy is a bagir. It is just that boys do not have an intermediate stage like naarus. May 10, 2015 at 22:50
  • Steinsaltz' Guide seems to define B as an adult woman. The glossary of the Soncino translation explicitly defines B as age 12.5 and up. Shottenstein's glossary defines B as 12.5 years (which seems to agree with you). In any case, I have heard people refer to a 14 yo as a bogeress. This lack of agreement cries our for a source or sources. Can you provide any?
    – Yehuda W
    May 11, 2015 at 0:54

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