child·hood | \ˈchī(-ə)ld-ˌhu̇d \

Definition of childhood 

1 : the state or period of being a child

2 : the early period in the development of something

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Synonyms & Antonyms for childhood


nonage, youth



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Examples of childhood in a Sentence

diseases that can occur in childhood Both men had unhappy childhoods.

Recent Examples on the Web

Type 1 diabetes, which typically is diagnosed in childhood, occurs when the immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Washington Post, "Retooled Vaccine Raises Hopes As A Lower-Cost Treatment For Type 1 Diabetes," 13 July 2018 Debate during the hearing centered on whether Fallis intentionally fired at officers, and how much her troubled childhood and history of abusive adult relationships contributed to her frame of mind. Washington Post, "Woman gets prison for firing gun during pipeline protest," 11 July 2018 The three-story building will house multiple programs, including early childhood and Pathways to Prosperity programs as well as students from the Blackhawk campus on Randall Road, which houses alternative education. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "West Aurora OKs nearly $3.9 million bid for construction of career development center," 11 July 2018 In childhood and college, Will played the trumpet but switched to mainly guitar for many years before finding a love of drumming. Jim Stingl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stingl: Educators spread the joy of music to many. And they accidentally led me to my wife," 6 July 2018 The narrative story revisits the childhood and key life events of Alison, as told through the voices and performance of three actresses playing the role at different ages. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Towle Theater’s ‘Fun Home’ run ranks as Indiana stage premiere," 28 June 2018 In Billboard's first episode of Growing Up Latino, superstar Maluma took the seat of confessions to tell stories of his childhood and Colombian culture. Suzette Fernandez, Billboard, "Maluma Confesses That Thalia Was His 'Telenovela' Crush in New Series 'Growing Up Latino': Watch," 27 June 2018 The broader bill includes trade-offs, including a multi-year path to citizenship for young immigrants who have been living in the U.S. illegally since childhood and $25 billion for Trump’s border wall. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "GOP set for showdown immigration vote," 26 June 2018 Someone should produce a show for a premium channel about Barrymore’s childhood and teen years! Josh Duboff, Vanities, "Why Princess Diana Was “Such a Good Example,” According to Drew Barrymore," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'childhood.' 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 childhood

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to childhood

childhood friend

Statistics for childhood

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for childhood

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

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More Definitions for childhood



English Language Learners Definition of childhood

: the period of time when a person is a child


child·hood | \ˈchīld-ˌhu̇d \

Kids Definition of childhood

: the period of life between infancy and youth


child·hood | \ˈchīld-ˌhu̇d \

Medical Definition of childhood 

: the state or period of being a child

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Comments on childhood

What made you want to look up childhood? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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