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[in-fuh n-see]
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noun, plural in·fan·cies.
  1. the state or period of being an infant; very early childhood, usually the period before being able to walk; babyhood.
  2. the corresponding period in the existence of anything; very early stage: Space science is in its infancy.
  3. infants collectively.
  4. Law. the period of life to the age of majority, 21 years at common law but now usually 18; minority; nonage.
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Origin of infancy

From the Latin word infantia, dating back to 1485–95. See infant, -cy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for infancy


noun plural -cies
  1. the state or period of being an infant; childhood
  2. an early stage of growth or development
  3. infants collectively
  4. the period of life prior to attaining legal majority (reached at 21 under common law, at 18 by statute); minority nonage
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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 infancy


late 14c., from Anglo-French enfaunce and directly from Latin infantia "early childhood," literally "inability to speak," from infantem (see infant).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

infancy in Medicine


  1. The earliest period of childhood, especially before the ability to walk has been acquired.
  2. The state of being an infant.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.