noun, plural chil·dren.
Origin of child
Examples from the Web for child
Contemporary Examples of 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
Historical Examples of child
You were our only child; named Artaminta, in remembrance of my mother.
The child was preserved, and brought up in the temple of Phœbus.
When he "played" with Baby Akemit thereafter, the pretence was not all with the child.
The frolic with the child seemed to have blown away a fog from between them.
But I've known every bad place in it, and I've religiously put in your "Come, come, child!"
noun plural children
- a boy or girl between birth and puberty
- (as modifier)child labour
Word Origin 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.).
In addition to the idiom beginning with child
, also see
- second childhood