[ chahyl-dish ]
/ ˈtʃaɪl dɪʃ /


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

Nearby words

  1. childers,
  2. childfree,
  3. childhood,
  4. childhood muscular dystrophy,
  5. childing,
  6. childishly,
  7. childless,
  8. childlike,
  9. childly,
  10. childminder

Origin of childish

before 1000; Middle English childisch, Old English cildisc. See child, -ish1

Related forms
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for childish

British Dictionary definitions for childish


/ (ˈtʃaɪldɪʃ) /


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