- a person between birth and full growth; a boy or girl: books for children.
- a son or daughter: All my children are married.
- a baby or infant.
- a human fetus.
- a childish person: He's such a child about money.
- a descendant: a child of an ancient breed.
- any person or thing regarded as the product or result of particular agencies, influences, etc.: Abstract art is a child of the 20th century.
- a person regarded as conditioned or marked by a given circumstance, situation, etc.: a child of poverty; a child of famine.
- British Dialect Archaic. a female infant.
- Archaic. childe.
- with child, pregnant: She's with child.
Origin of child
- Julia,1912–2004, U.S. gourmet cook, author, and television personality.
- Lydia Maria (Francis),1802–80, U.S. author, abolitionist, and social reformer.
Related Wordsinfant, toddler, adolescent, juvenile, youth, teenager, baby, kid, offspring, minor, youngster, bairn, sprout, suckling, newborn, lamb, progeny, tyke, tot, imp
Examples from the Web for child
Sands was involved in a scandalous-for-the-time romance with the carpenter and there were rumors she was pregnant with his child.New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion
January 8, 2015
In Sweden parents can use those days up until the child turns 12.How Good Dads Can Change the World
Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman
January 6, 2015
The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents.Thank Congress, Not LBJ for Great Society
Julian Zelizer, Scott Porch
January 4, 2015
It needs to be said: bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry; child abuse wrapped in a Bible verse is still child abuse.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
At least one child in CAR has been killed or gravely injured per day, and 10,000 have been recruited into militant groups.The Year’s Most Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis
January 1, 2015
You were our only child; named Artaminta, in remembrance of my mother.
The child was preserved, and brought up in the temple of Phœbus.
But I've known every bad place in it, and I've religiously put in your "Come, come, child!"
The frolic with the child seemed to have blown away a fog from between them.
When he "played" with Baby Akemit thereafter, the pretence was not all with the child.
- a boy or girl between birth and puberty
- (as modifier)child labour
- a baby or infant
- an unborn babyRelated prefix: paedo-
- with child another term for pregnant
- a human offspring; a son or daughterRelated adjective: filial
- a childish or immature person
- a member of a family or tribe; descendanta child of Israel
- a person or thing regarded as the product of an influence or environmenta child of nature
- Midland English and Western English dialect a female infant
Word Origin and History for child
Old English cild "fetus, infant, unborn or newly born person," from Proto-Germanic *kiltham (cf. Gothic kilþei "womb," inkilþo "pregnant;" Danish kuld "children of the same marriage;" Old Swedish kulder "litter;" Old English cildhama "womb," lit. "child-home"); no certain cognates outside Germanic. "App[arently] originally always used in relation to the mother as the 'fruit of the womb'" [Buck]. Also in late Old English, "a youth of gentle birth" (archaic, usually written childe). In 16c.-17c. especially "girl child."
The wider sense "young person before the onset of puberty" developed in late Old English. Phrase with child "pregnant" (late 12c.) retains the original sense. The sense extension from "infant" to "child" also is found in French enfant, Latin infans. Meaning "one's own child; offspring of parents" is from late 12c. (the Old English word was bearn; see bairn). Figurative use from late 14c. Most Indo-European languages use the same word for "a child" and "one's child," though there are exceptions (e.g. Latin liberi/pueri).
The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity's sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer and in Childermas.
Child abuse is attested by 1963; child-molester from 1950. Child care is from 1915. Child's play, figurative of something easy, is in Chaucer (late 14c.).
- A person who has not yet reached puberty.
- A son or daughter; an offspring.
- A person not of legal age; a minor.
Idioms and Phrases with child
In addition to the idiom beginning with child
, also see
- second childhood