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[chahyld-lahyk] /ˈtʃaɪldˌlaɪk/
like a child, as in innocence, frankness, etc.; befitting a child:
childlike trust.
Origin of childlike
First recorded in 1580-90; child + -like
Related forms
childlikeness, noun
unchildlike, adjective
Can be confused
childish, childlike (see synonym study at childish)
young, ingenuous, simple, guileless, trusting, innocent.
sophisticated, adult.
Synonym Study
See childish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for childlike
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But, childlike, she was not ready to own her sorrow; and she turned her back, trembling.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • The first fervors of the romance of discovery were childlike in their eagerness.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • Indeed, there was yet much that was childlike in their growing love.

  • Glory could have cried for joy of it all—it was so simple, so human, so childlike.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • Nevertheless, he smiled in a childlike way, and began to talk of the dog.

    The Christian Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for childlike


like or befitting a child, as in being innocent, trustful, etc Compare childish (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for childlike

1580s, "proper to a child," from child + like. Meaning "like a child" in a good sense (distinguished from childish) is from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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