of, like, or befitting a child: childish games.
puerile; weak; silly: childish fears.

Origin of childish

before 1000; Middle English childisch, Old English cildisc. See child, -ish1
Related formschild·ish·ly, adverbchild·ish·ness, nouno·ver·child·ish, adjectiveo·ver·child·ish·ly, adverbo·ver·child·ish·ness, nounun·child·ish, adjectiveun·child·ish·ly, adverbun·child·ish·ness, noun
Can be confusedchildish childlike (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonym study

2. Childish, infantile, childlike refer to characteristics or qualities of childhood. The ending -ish often has unfavorable connotations; childish therefore refers to characteristics that are undesirable and unpleasant: childish selfishness, outbursts of temper. Infantile, originally a general word, now often carries an even stronger idea of disapproval or scorn than does childish : infantile reasoning, behavior. The ending -like has pleasing or neutral connotations; childlike therefore refers to the characteristics that are desirable and admirable: childlike innocence, trust.

Antonyms for childish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for childish

Contemporary Examples of childish

Historical Examples of childish

  • I have often heard Pericles speak of his childish obstinacy and perseverance.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • A girl of Frederica's age must be childish indeed, if such things do not strike her.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • "So you can work—you really can work," repeated Angelique with childish joy.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Ah, that was only making believe and childish play; this was reality.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • But just then my childish pride was grievously piqued by Philip's criticism.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for childish



in the manner of, belonging to, or suitable to a child
foolish or petty; puerilechildish fears
Derived Formschildishly, adverbchildishness, noun
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 childish

Old English cildisc "proper to a child;" see child + -ish. Meaning "puerile, immature, like a child" in a bad sense is from early 15c. Related: Childishly; childishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper