baby talk



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.
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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for baby talk

Historical Examples of baby talk

  • Surely it is only the “baby-talk” of the wisdom not yet comprehensible to human hearts!

    An Orkney Maid

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • She poured him some and teased gently, "What's the matter, Ronny—back to baby-talk?"


    Katherine MacLean

  • If she does talk 'baby-talk,' I imagine she does it very prettily, and I'm sure I've no objection.


    Booth Tarkington

  • But now, as she took him in her arms, she astonished them with such eloquence of baby-talk as baby had never heard before.

    Janet's Love and Service

    Margaret M Robertson

  • How often are children spoken to in baby-talk, gush, hollow questions, and a condescension as irritating as coming teeth!

    The Fall of the Year

    Dallas Lore Sharp

British Dictionary definitions for baby talk

baby talk


the speech of very young children learning to talk
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