child

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld \
plural children\ˈchil-drən, -dərn \

Definition of child 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an unborn or recently born person

b dialect : a female infant

2a : a young person especially between infancy and youth a play for both children and adults

b : a childlike or childish person He is a child in most business matters.

c : a person not yet of age Under the law she is still a child.

3 usually childe \ˈchī(-ə)ld \ , archaic : a youth of noble birth

4a : a son or daughter of human parents Do you have any children?

b : descendant the children of Israel

5 : 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"

6 : product, result barbed wire … is truly a child of the plains —W. P. Webb

with child

Child

biographical name (1)
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld \

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

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Other words from child

Noun

childless \ˈchī(-ə)l(d)-ləs \ adjective
childlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for child

Synonyms: Noun

bambino, bud, chick, cub, juvenile, kid, kiddie (also kiddy), kiddo, moppet, squirt, whelp, youngling, youngster, youth

Antonyms: Noun

adult, grown-up

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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

Justin Kennedy does know Trump and knows the president's children socially, the two people said. Salvador Rizzo, chicagotribune.com, "There is an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Supreme Court and Trump Tower Chicago," 14 July 2018 The Voges, their five grown children and three spouses were together on Thanksgiving in Mexico. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "The Sexting Scandal That Toppled One of America’s Most Powerful Lawyers," 13 July 2018 Regan had stopped at a gas station in a snowstorm and learned that a woman with young children was stranded with a flat tire and no spare. Anne M. Hamilton, courant.com, "He Brought His Skill For Teaching, Knack For Colonial Buildings To Coventry," 15 July 2018 Weeks after the pair’s divorce became final in 1951, Sinatra’s ex-husband married Gardner, while Sinatra went on to raise the couple’s three children: Nancy, Frank Jr. and Tina. John Rogers, BostonGlobe.com, "Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101," 14 July 2018 The plan, outlined in a filing Friday afternoon in San Diego federal court, aims to process about 200 children age 5 and older per day, with a rollout this weekend. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Trump administration outlines plan to reunify remaining 2,500 separated children," 14 July 2018 Told mainly in Williams’s own voice and aided with the likes of Billy Crystal, David Letterman, and others close to him, the film begins with his life raised as an only child in Chicago and ends with his untimely death in 2014. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "The Legendary Robin Williams was Missed and Reminisced at the New York City Premiere for Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind," 14 July 2018 The ways Americans assign blame for child-parent separations also suggests the public’s sympathy toward undocumented migrants is limited. Scott Clement, Washington Post, "The public rejected Trump’s child-separation policy, but a majority supports his push to detain families until court hearings," 13 July 2018 With flu, children eventually develop antibody protection that compensates for the genetic flaw; the same is likely true for herpes. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Extreme Flu? Weird Encephalitis? It May Be Your Genes," 13 July 2018

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 1a

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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Statistics for child

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for child

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

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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 \
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 \
plural children\ˈchil-drən, -dərn \

Medical Definition of child 

1 : an unborn or recently born person

2 : a young person especially between infancy and youth

with child

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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.

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Comments on child

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