child

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

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Other Words from child

Noun

childless \ ˈchī(-​ə)l(d)-​ləs How to pronounce childless (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 The live video calls are personalized for each child by ethnicity, faith and language. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Virtual Santa visits? Holiday shopping will look different this year as Maryland retailers change tactics amid coronavirus," 12 Nov. 2020 The 28th annual Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center Thanksgiving Basket Brigade is pivoting to a delivery system to bring baskets to 1,300 pre-registered families caring for a child with special healthcare needs. Kari Barnett, sun-sentinel.com, "Here’s how to help feed families - and pets - this Thanksgiving," 10 Nov. 2020 If a student misses a class, Jackson reaches out to parents and to the child. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Thousands of Utah students are struggling with online learning during the pandemic," 8 Nov. 2020 There at the foot of the sign, trick-or-treaters left their Halloween candy for the child inside. Steve Hartman, CBS News, "Trick-or-treaters leave their Halloween candy for child battling leukemia," 6 Nov. 2020 But the skeleton is unusually small for a child of that age, instead appearing to belong to a 4- to 5-year-old. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, "8,000 Years Ago, a Child in Indonesia Was Buried Without Their Arms and Legs," 6 Nov. 2020 The addition means between $15 and $93 per week for a dependent spouse, and between $26 and $185 for a dependent child. Abdel Jimenez, chicagotribune.com, "You lost your job because of COVID-19 restrictions and unemployment benefits are set to shrink in Illinois. Here’s what to know.," 5 Nov. 2020 Eason, 31, and Antonio Turner, 28, were each charged with first-degree murder and cruelty to a child, police said in a statement. Washington Post, "Two people arrested in killing of 2-year-old boy in April in Northeast Washington," 3 Nov. 2020 When her mother’s friends had doctor’s appointments or gave birth to a child, Nino-Tapias’ mother would often send her to interpret on their behalf. Tatiana Sanchez, SFChronicle.com, "Stanford med student lost two jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. So she picked blueberries to make a living," 2 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for child

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Child.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/child. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for child

child

noun
How to pronounce Child (audio)

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 children (audio) \

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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