baby talk

  1. the speech of children learning to talk, marked by syntactic differences from adult speech and by phonetic modifications like lisping, lalling, and the omission and substitution of sounds.

  2. Also called par·ent·ese [pair-uhn-teez, -tees, par-] /ˌpɛər ənˈtiz, -ˈtis, ˌpær-/ . a style of speech used by adults in addressing children, pets, or sweethearts, and formed in imitation of the voice and pronunciation of children learning to talk: it is generally characterized in English by the addition of diminutive endings to words, the use of special words and pet names, and the systematic distortion of certain words, as dolly for doll,teensy-weensy for tiny,oo for you, and twain for train.

Origin of baby talk

First recorded in 1830–40

usage note For baby talk

Baby Talk is used as a label in this dictionary for well-known terms traditionally thought to exemplify the type of baby talk used by adults. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use baby talk in a sentence

  • Nina, delighted to see the animal once more, was caressing his long ears and mumbling baby-talk to him.

    The Tigress | Anne Warner
  • She did not wear pretty dresses nor laugh nor address baby talk to "Boo'ful."

    Bunker Bean | Harry Leon Wilson
  • It is all idle to talk baby-talk, and give shallow accounts of deep things, thinking thereby to interest the child.

    Woman in the Nineteenth Century | Margaret Fuller Ossoli
  • The men89 chattered, the women laughed, and there was an affectation of baby-talk at nearly every table.

    The Eternal City | Hall Caine
  • At twenty she had been addicted to baby talk when endeavouring to coax something out of someone.

    Half Portions | Edna Ferber

British Dictionary definitions for baby talk

baby talk

  1. the speech of very young children learning to talk

  2. an adult's imitation of this

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