noun, plural chil·dren.
Origin of child
Examples from the Web for childless
Contemporary Examples of childless
Nor is it true that childless people are doomed, as the pope warned, to be lonely and sad in their old age.
The fact of the matter is that what the planet probably needs now is more people picking the childless lifestyle.
The answer keeps coming back the same: Childless couples have happier marriages, on average.
Since they were childless, Anne became next in line for the crown.The Forgotten Reign of England’s Lesbian Queen
October 31, 2013
But for childless singles, the income range that qualified for help is much smaller.Are Young, Single Adults Expecting Obamacare to Cost So Much?
June 4, 2013
Historical Examples of childless
The deed of the Charity did not absolutely specify “childless widows.”The Secret Agent
I am a childless man, yet here I am as the parent of all of them.In the Valley
As it was true, they got a child, though they had been childless.
In a certain village there lived a very rich couple; but they were childless.
This she added, remembering that the woman before her was childless.Masterpieces of Mystery
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