[kin-der-gahr-tn, -dn]


a school or class for young children between the ages of four and six years.

Origin of kindergarten

1850–55; < German: literally, children's garden, equivalent to Kinder children (see kind2) + Garten garden
Related formspre·kin·der·gar·ten, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for kindergarten

kindergarten, babysitter, playgroup

Examples from the Web for kindergarten

Contemporary Examples of kindergarten

Historical Examples of kindergarten

  • It was no kindergarten way of learning to drive four-in-hand.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • My papa is a doctor, and my mamma teaches a Kindergarten school.

  • This same Morning-glory is the subject of one of the kindergarten songs.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • Seela's joy is to be considered old and allowed to go to the kindergarten.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • One day in deep depression of spirits the Coney arrived at the kindergarten.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

British Dictionary definitions for kindergarten



a class or small school for young children, usually between the ages of four and six to prepare them for primary educationOften shortened to (in Australia and New Zealand): kinder, kindy, kindie
Derived Formskindergartener, noun

Word Origin for kindergarten

C19: from German, literally: children's garden
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 kindergarten

1852, from German, literally "children's garden," from Kinder "children" (plural of Kind "child;" see kin (n.)) + Garten "garden" (see yard (n.1)). Coined 1840 by German educator Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children.

Kindergarten means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, the discoverer of the method of Nature, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit,-- also to renew their manifestation year after year. [Mann, Horace, and Elizabeth P. Peabody, "Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide," Boston, 1863]

The first one in England was established 1850 by Johannes Ronge, German Catholic priest; in America, 1868, by Elizabeth Peabody of Boston, Mass. Taken into English untranslated, whereas other nations that borrowed the institution nativized the name (cf. Danish börnehave, Modern Hebrew gan yeladim, literally "garden of children"). Sometimes partially anglicized as kindergarden (attested by 1879).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper