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 childishness

Contemporary Examples of childishness

Historical Examples of childishness

  • Barefaced audacity amounting to childishness of a peculiar sort.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • This childishness our country has not yet succeeded in getting rid of.

    My Reminiscences

    Rabindranath Tagore

  • And the poor child smiled at her own childishness and simplicity.

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • There was no evasion in her reply; her only reproach was for his childishness in blabbing.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii

    Nathaniel Bright Emerson

  • He smiled now at the childishness of his attitude toward Nan.

    The Root of Evil

    Thomas Dixon

British Dictionary definitions for childishness



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 childishness



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