Definition of child in English:

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Pronunciation: /tʃʌɪld/

noun (plural children /ˈtʃɪldr(ə)n/)

1A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority: she’d been playing tennis since she was a child the film is not suitable for children
More example sentences
  • The ultrasound probe is used mainly for head scanning of newborn babies and young children.
  • Malnourishment prevents a child from reaching full mental and physical development.
  • Is it inevitable when a baby or a young child gets these autoantibodies that they go on to develop diabetes?
baby, newborn, infant, toddler;
schoolboy, schoolgirl, adolescent, teenager, youth, young man, young woman, young lady, young person, young adult, juvenile, minor, junior;
stripling, fledgling, whippersnapper;
son, daughter, son and heir, scion, descendant;
(childrenoffspring, progeny, issue
technical neonate
Scottish & Northern English  bairn, wean, laddie, lassie;
West Indian  pickney
informal kid, kiddie, kiddiewink, nipper, tot, tiny, tiny tot, shaver, young 'un, lad, lass, teen, teenybopper
British informal sprog
North American informal rug rat
Australian/New Zealand informal ankle-biter
derogatory brat, chit, urchin, guttersnipe
literary babe, babe in arms
archaic hobbledehoy
1.1A son or daughter of any age: when children leave home, parents can feel somewhat redundant
More example sentences
  • The couple had three children, a daughter and two sons who work in the business.
  • She said that if she had children she would want daughters like Holly.
  • I have chosen to stay at home to bring up my daughter and any other children that I may choose to have.
1.2An immature or irresponsible person: she’s such a child!
1.3A person who has little or no experience in a particular area: he’s a child in financial matters
1.4 (children) archaic The descendants of a family or people: the children of Abraham
1.5 (child of) A person regarded as the product of (a specified influence or environment): a child of the Sixties
More example sentences
  • I mean, it is an iD shareware product, the child of a small independent studio.
  • And which child of the Generation Next is interested in collecting greeting cards?
  • What is the destiny that is to be fulfilled, and who is the one true child of it?



child's play

A task which is easily accomplished: tapping telephones is child’s play
More example sentences
  • The task would have been child's play to even the very worst of pickpockets.
  • It is child's play to access your bank account and track your movements through your mobile or by the cash withdrawals that you make.
  • Without much help from parents or teachers, an easy point and browse mechanism would be child's play.

from a child

Since childhood: from a child she had taken ballet lessons
More example sentences
  • The Nick I've known from a child up until his adult age would never put his life ahead of the love for his family.
  • He's also Sullivan's surrogate father, having raised him from a child to become one of his most loyal employees.
  • As the son of a minister who had been taught the Scriptures and the ways of God from a child, I had enough head knowledge to talk and fit into Christian situations.

with child

archaic Pregnant.
Example sentences
  • Not being with child, I cannot attest to the truthfulness of the latter claim - and there is only so much I'll do in the name of research.
  • Yesterday, I drove out to St. Thomas to do a little private practice for one of my colleagues who is with child.
  • While I walk, I muse on art and life. Back home, I make breakfast for Rose, who is with child.


Old English cild, of Germanic origin. The Middle English plural childer or childre became childeren or children by association with plurals ending in -en, such as brethren.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times child frequently meant a newborn baby, a sense we retain in childbirth (mid 16th century). In the 16th century child was sometimes used to specify a female infant: ‘A very pretty bairn. A boy or a child, I wonder?’ (Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale). On a similar theme, the familiar saying children should be seen and not heard was applied originally not to children but to young women. It was described as early as 1400 as ‘an old English saw’ (or saying) in the form ‘A maid should be seen, but not heard’. It was not until the 19th century that children became the subject.

Words that rhyme with child

Childe, mild, self-styled, undefiled, wild, Wilde

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: child

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