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

Witherspoon spent most of her childhood further down Interstate 65 in Nashville. Sarah Riley, The Courier-Journal, "Reese Witherspoon is bringing her 'Whiskey in a Teacup' tour to town," 9 July 2018 Those demons, in part self-inflicted but most not, had haunted Houston since childhood, and their revelation will distress as well as shock. Graham Ambrose,, "Darkness and light in Whitney Houston documentary," 4 July 2018 Volk-Zimmerman, who works out of a Red Hook studio, has harbored a love of wooden furniture since childhood. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "16 of the Most Innovative Furniture Designers Who Manufacture in the U.S.," 4 July 2018 Jerry Seinfeld: Jerry Lewis, who was an idol of mine from childhood. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Jerry Seinfeld on new season of 'Comedians in Cars,' whether he'd invite Trump on his show," 3 July 2018 Since childhood, Bridgette Gentry Marshall, 45, had suffered chronic migraines that led to an addiction to prescription opioids and unsuccessful stints in rehab, WAFF-TV reported. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall shares details on wife's suicide, mental illness," 28 June 2018 Growing up, Holliday loved fashion and beauty and dreamed of becoming a model, although the particular pains of her childhood led to her channeling that energy into becoming a makeup artist, instead. Ashley C. Ford, SELF, "Tess Holliday’s Health Is None of Your Business," 25 June 2018 As the court’s royal dog, Caesar has stayed by Mercia’s side since childhood, guarding her at all costs and getting all the pets in return. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Oh my god, Wargroove is gonna let you play as a dog commander," 7 June 2018 This summer, the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise will be on the big screen, reinforcing a love of dinosaurs that has been with many of us since childhood. Darren Griffin, Scientific American, "Jurassic World: Can We Really Resurrect a Dinosaur?," 6 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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Statistics for childhood

Last Updated

3 Nov 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 express warning or disapproval

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