noun, plural chil·dren.
Origin of child
Related Words for childreninfant, toddler, adolescent, juvenile, youth, teenager, baby, kid, offspring, minor, youngster, bairn, sprout, suckling, newborn, lamb, progeny, tyke, tot, imp
Examples from the Web for children
Contemporary Examples of children
Haringey Council told The Daily Beast that the children had not been taken permanently into state care.Britain May Spy on Preschoolers Searching for Potential Jihadis
January 7, 2015
We also have a growing body of biological research showing that fathers, like mothers, are hard-wired to care for children.
Indeed, study after study affirms the benefits of involved fatherhood for women and children.
A recent U.S. study found men get a “daddy bonus” —employers seem to like men who have children and their salaries show it.
Children in households with more equitable participation of men show better health and development.
Historical Examples of children
Again he recurred to his early years, and talked fondly of his wife and children.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
"I must make you acquainted with my wife and children," he said.Brave and Bold
Winter was near and he had no money to buy cloaks for his children.
They had no children and this settlement assured them a peaceful old age.
Parents, proceeded she, when children are young, are pleased with every thing they do.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
noun plural children
- a boy or girl between birth and puberty
- (as modifier)child labour
Word Origin for child
plural of child (q.v.)
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