In two experiments, we examined whether word age-of-acquisition (AoA) is a reliable predictor of processing times in semantic tasks. In the first task, participants were asked to say the first associate that came to mind when they saw a stimulus word; the second task involved a semantic categorisation between words with a definable meaning and first names. In both tasks, there were significantly faster responses to earlier-acquired than to later-acquired words. On the basis of these results, we argue that age-of-acquisition effects do not originate solely from the speech output system, but from the semantic system as well. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B,V. All rights reserved.