Should It Be Teenage or Teenaged?

I was reading a magazine article and the sentence was:

The teenage stockboy was staring at her.

Is that correct? Or should it be teenaged stockboy?

Or is it just a matter of style and/or usage?

Style and usage.

I would say that “teenaged” describes a person, while “teenage” refers to qualities that appeal to, or are characteristic of, teenagers.

The Associated Press Stylebook says “teenage.”

Of course the AP Stylebook is the last word only for those who follow it.

Heaven knows that Katy Perry is the best when it comes to grammar of her song titles, in fact she’s probably one of the worst offenders, but “Teenage Dream” seems to be grammatically correct, as it implies the dream of a teenager. “Teenaged Dream” to me implies that the dream itself is over 13 years old.

(And, FWIW, Firefox spell-check had no problem with “teenage” but did have a problem with “teenaged”.)

Right. Or, “teenage dream” suggests a dream like a teenager would have. “Teenage” is a quality.

Teenaged sounds more like something they used to say but has fallen away. Like something Mr. Burns would say. “Smithers, I can’t enjoy my iced cream with all these teenaged hooligans loitering about the parlortarium!”

Do you also hear it as teenagéd (i.e. teen-age-Ed)?

OneLook Dictionary finds “teenage” in 27 different online dictionaries, but “teenaged” in only 17. This suggests that “teenage” is the preferred form (as does my ear).

Technically, teen-aged was correct , but it’s gone or is going out of usage. It’s like “skimmed milk,” which actually makes more sense than the current and popular “skim milk.” The ones that drives me nuts are “ice tea” (If it has ice in it, it’s iced.) and “whip cream.” But I digress.

I am not sure what “technically correct” means in this context, but, according to the OED, “teenage” goes back to 1921, whereas “teenaged” (which is designated as a “derivative” of “teenage”) was first seen in 1953. It looks to me as though “teenaged” is the product of hyper-correction.

I say “skimmed milk,” and “skim milk” makes me wince.