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Origin of childlike

First recorded in 1580–90; child + -like
Related formschild·like·ness, nounun·child·like, adjective
Can be confusedchildish childlike (see synonym study at childish)

Synonyms for childlike

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Synonym study

Antonyms for childlike Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for childlike

Contemporary Examples of childlike

Historical Examples of childlike

  • But, childlike, she was not ready to own her sorrow; and she turned her back, trembling.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The first fervors of the romance of discovery were childlike in their eagerness.

  • Indeed, there was yet much that was childlike in their growing love.

  • Glory could have cried for joy of it all—it was so simple, so human, so childlike.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Nevertheless, he smiled in a childlike way, and began to talk of the dog.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for childlike


  1. like or befitting a child, as in being innocent, trustful, etcCompare childish (def. 2)
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 childlike

1580s, "proper to a child," from child + like. Meaning "like a child" in a good sense (distinguished from childish) is from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper