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

Other cities high on the pollution lists include Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas and my childhood home, Houston. Rob Jackson, Scientific American, "Relaxing Vehicle-Efficiency Standards Is a Truly Dangerous Idea," 12 July 2018 Fruity Pebbowl Multiple locations Craving the flavors of childhood, but not the sugar and calories? Hannah Steinkopf-frank, RedEye Chicago, "10 cereal dishes that take childhood favorites out of the breakfast bowl," 6 July 2018 Many mourn the loss of a chain that, for some, carries the nostalgic weight of childhood. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Can an unemployed Toys R Us mascot save real giraffes? A Texas zoo wants to find out," 2 July 2018 Douglas hopes that within the safe space of the home parents and kids can enter a dialogue about these aspects of childhood, which often are waved away as unwholesome fantasy. Jef Rouner, Houston Chronicle, "Wilde Collection art show makes dark less scary for young artists," 21 June 2018 Inside Out rewrites the movie’s conception of childhood by eschewing the reliance on expulsion or parental absence., "The Subtle Reason Why Pixar Movies Differ From The Disney Classics Of Yore," 15 June 2018 Like so many other Texans, some of my fondest memories of childhood revolve around Garner State Park. Dale Blasingame, San Antonio Express-News, "The 8 best family-friendly Texas state parks," 11 June 2018 Committed to art from childhood, Giacometti moved to Paris in 1922, briefly pursuing academic study and experimenting in modes of classical, ancient Egyptian, Cycladic, and African art. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Giacometti’s Skinny Sublimity," 6 June 2018 Drawing on experience with her autistic sister, Choldenko helps earnest 13-year-old Moose navigate life with his sister Natalie, now 17, still limited, but ready to break from childhood. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of new children’s books," 24 May 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

22 Sep 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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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