child

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld How to pronounce child (audio) \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən How to pronounce child (audio) , -​dərn \

Definition of child

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a young person especially between infancy and puberty a play for both children and adults
b : a person not yet of the age of majority (see majority sense 2a) Under the law she is still a child.
c : a childlike or childish person He is a child in most business matters.
2a : a son or daughter of human parents Do you have any children?
b : descendant the children of Israel
3a : an unborn or recently born person … Meghan Markle, married Prince Harry, now pregnant with child.— Laura Simonetti
b dialect : a female infant
4 : one strongly influenced by another or by a place or state of affairs a child of the streets a child of nature America has been called "the first child of the Enlightenment"
5 : product, result barbed wire … is truly a child of the plains— W. P. Webb
6 usually childe \ ˈchī(-​ə)ld How to pronounce child (audio) \, archaic : a youth of noble birth
with child

Child

biographical name (1)
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld How to pronounce Child (audio) \

Definition of Child (Entry 2 of 3)

Francis James 1825–1896 American ballad editor

Child

biographical name (2)

Definition of Child (Entry 3 of 3)

Julia (Carolyn) 1912–2004 née McWilliams American chef

Other Words from child

Noun

childless \ ˈchī(-​ə)l(d)-​ləs How to pronounce Child (audio) \ adjective
childlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for child

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Is the word kid slang?

Some people worry that kid, when used of a child rather than a juvenile goat, is either slang or too colloquial to merit acceptance in standard English.

The fact is that we have been using kid to refer to a child that is human, rather than goatish, for more than three hundred years now. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that although this word was considered “low slang” when it first began being used, it had entered “familiar speech” by the 19th century.

In contemporary English, kid is neither slang nor improper. It is, however, most definitely informal, so those writing professionally or in a formal register might prefer to use child.

Examples of child in a Sentence

Noun the birth of a child She's pregnant with their first child. a play for both children and adults All of their children are grown now. an elderly couple and their adult children Men are such children sometimes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ironically, Henry never attended a Detroit Thanksgiving parade as a child. Scott Talley, Freep.com, 25 Nov. 2021 Zeke cherished the hours spent cheering on his father's wrestlers during the grueling Al Smith Invitational as a child. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Nov. 2021 Montoya remembers his flight out of Cuba as a child. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2021 What would make somebody as a child want to grow up and be a superhero? Adam B. Vary, Variety, 24 Nov. 2021 Nakken played many sports as a child and was a first baseman on Sacramento State’s softball team. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 As a young child, Sant’Anselmo spent a lot of time at the mom-and-pop Movie Mart in Canoga Park, California, in the 1980s before chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video began taking over in the 1990s. Rodney Ho, ajc, 22 Nov. 2021 In the anime, there was a song, an audio, of Faye watching herself as a child. E. Alex Jung, Vulture, 20 Nov. 2021 An enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Tribe, Rose Kolakowski spent her summers as a child on her tribe’s reservation in Michigan, returning to Pennsylvania for school in the fall. Briana Miller | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 20 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'child.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of child

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for child

Noun

Middle English, from Old English cild; akin to Goth kilthei womb, and perhaps to Sanskrit jaṭhara belly

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Time Traveler for child

Time Traveler

The first known use of child was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near child

Chilcotin

child

Child

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Statistics for child

Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Child.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/child. Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for child

child

noun

English Language Learners Definition of child

: a young person
: a son or daughter
: an adult who acts like a child : a childlike or childish person

child

noun
\ ˈchīld How to pronounce child (audio) \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən \

Kids Definition of child

1 : an unborn or recently born person
2 : a young person of either sex between infancy and youth
3 : a son or daughter of any age My children are grown now.

child

noun
\ ˈchī(ə)ld How to pronounce child (audio) \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən, -​dərn How to pronounce child (audio) \

Medical Definition of child

1 : an unborn or recently born person
2 : a young person especially between infancy and youth
with child

child

noun
plural children

Legal Definition of child

1 : a son or daughter of any age and usually including one formally adopted — compare issue

Note: The word child as used in a statute or will is often held to include a stepchild, an illegitimate child, a person for whom one stands in loco parentis, or sometimes a more remote descendant, such as a grandchild. In interpreting the word child as used in a will, the court will try to effectuate the intent of the person who made the will as it can be determined from the language of the will.

2 : a person below an age specified by law : infant, minor assault on a child under 16 years of age — compare adult

Note: A person who is below the statutory age but is married will usually be considered an adult.

More from Merriam-Webster on child

Nglish: Translation of child for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of child for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about child

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