[in-fuh nt]
  1. a child during the earliest period of its life, especially before he or she can walk; baby.
  2. Law. a person who is not of full age, especially one who has not reached the age of 18 years; a minor.
  3. a beginner, as in experience or learning; novice: The new candidate is a political infant.
  4. anything in the first stage of existence or progress.
  1. of or relating to infants or infancy: infant years.
  2. being in infancy: an infant king.
  3. being in the earliest stage: an infant industry.
  4. of or relating to the legal state of infancy; minor.

Origin of infant

1350–1400; < Latin infant- (stem of infāns) small child, literally, one unable to speak, equivalent to in- in-3 + -fāns, present participle of fārī to speak; replacing Middle English enfaunt < Anglo-French < Latin, as above
Related formsin·fant·hood, nounin·fant·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for infant-hood


  1. a child at the earliest stage of its life; baby
  2. law another word for minor (def. 10)
  3. British a young schoolchild, usually under the age of seven
  4. a person who is beginning or inexperienced in an activity
  5. (modifier)
    1. of or relating to young children or infancy
    2. designed or intended for young children
  1. in an early stage of development; nascentan infant science or industry
  2. law of or relating to the legal status of infancy
Derived Formsinfanthood, noun

Word Origin for infant

C14: from Latin infāns, literally: speechless, from in- 1 + fārī to speak
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 infant-hood



late 14c., "child during earliest period of life" (sometimes extended to age 7 and sometimes including a fetus), from Latin infantem (nominative infans) "young child, babe in arms," noun use of adjective meaning "not able to speak," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + fans, present participle of fari "speak" (see fame (n.)). As an adjective, 1580s, from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

infant-hood in Medicine


  1. A child in the earliest period of life, especially before he or she can walk.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.