Fast mapping of novel words for objects was compared in 48 children and adolescents with Down syndrome (ages 5:6-20:6), who were delayed in expressive language acquisition compared to mental age, and 48 normally developing children matched for mental age (chronological ages 2:0-6:0). Normal and Down syndrome groups did not differ in their ability to infer a connection between the novel word and referent (100% vs. 100%), to comprehend the novel word after a single exposure (83% vs. 73%), and to recall the location in which they hid the novel referent (83% vs. 75%). Nor did they differ in their ability to produce the novel word correctly (at least two out of three phonemes in order: 48% vs. 40%). When retested after an hour of other activity, only the production task showed a significant, and comparable, decrement. Comparing youngest and oldest quarters of each group showed improved memory for location in both, improved comprehension in the Down syndrome group, and improved production in the control group. Adults (n = 12), in contrast, performed perfectly on all tasks except the delayed word production. Neither intelligibility differences nor use of real word labels accounts for the failure to find a difference between groups. Fast mapping skills were unrelated to expressive language deficit in these children with Down syndrome.