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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for childhood


nonage, springtime, youth



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of childhood in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

This episode delves into the coping mechanisms that Toby developed in childhood in order to deal with his parents’ arguing and his mom’s own depression. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Reveals the Heartbreaking Promise Miguel Made to Jack Before He Died," 24 Oct. 2018 Vicky McGlynnTravelong of SummitShe’s been visiting the island since childhood, and can often get travelers access to private clubs, or even parliament, in addition to the best rooms at hotels like the Loren at Pink Beach. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 But doctors now recognize the disease can develop beyond childhood. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?," 10 Sep. 2018 Also, Linda definitely missed out on a classic childhood toy. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This Critter Catcher Has The Most Hilarious Q&As On Amazon," 30 Aug. 2018 Abbie and Sam have been best friends since childhood and have taken their relationship to the next level after officially getting engaged. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "15 Sad Movies to Watch on Netflix for When You Need a Good Cry," 28 Aug. 2018 In early childhood there is no important distinction between play and work, art and science, recreation and education . . Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "How not to cheat children: Let them build their own playgrounds," 18 July 2018 Besides his love for family and friends, Jack had two other interests; music, his constant companion, and the New York Yankees, his team since early childhood., "Jack W. Cohen," 30 June 2018 He was born into a farm: his grandparents’ farm in rural Cassatt, South Carolina, where sticky childhood summers were spent chasing piglets through mud. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appetit, "The Unmistakable Bryan Furman, Georgia’s New King of Barbecue," 25 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.

See More

First Known Use of childhood

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about childhood

Statistics for childhood

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for childhood

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!