the state or period of being a child.
the early stage in the existence of something: the childhood of the human race.

Origin of childhood

before 950; Middle English childhode, Old English cildhād. See child, -hood
Related formspre·child·hood, noun

Synonyms for childhood

1. youth, boyhood, girlhood, school days. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for childhood

Contemporary Examples of childhood

Historical Examples of childhood

  • He dwelt on the childhood of Philothea with peculiar pleasure.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • He's getting old, and he's come along into his second childhood.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "We have always been frank with one another since our childhood," said he.


    William J. Locke

  • "You should have a little more sympathy with childhood, Cornelius," said his father.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • There are old scenes of childhood associated with it which time can never erase.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

British Dictionary definitions for childhood



the condition of being a child; the period of life before puberty
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

Word Origin and History for childhood

"period of life from birth to puberty," Old English cildhad; see child + -hood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

childhood in Medicine




The period of life between infancy and puberty.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.