child·​ish | \ ˈchī(-ə)l-dish How to pronounce childish (audio) \

Definition of childish

1 : of, relating to, or befitting a child or childhood childish desires for toys
2a : marked by or suggestive of immaturity and lack of poise a childish spiteful remark
b : lacking complexity : simple it's a childish device, but it works
c : deteriorated with age especially in mind : senile his parents … were both getting childish and needed care— Pearl Buck

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Other Words from childish

childishly adverb
childishness noun

Examples of childish in a Sentence

She has a childish face. a letter written in childish scrawl He opened the gifts with childish delight. We're tired of their childish games. I find his humor very childish.
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Recent Examples on the Web But throwing a childish tantrum is still not permitted, our employees deserve better from grown adults. William Thornton |, al, "Alabama restaurant employees facing ‘verbal assault’ as COVID mask order nears end," 2 Apr. 2021 Normalizing public breastfeeding is, strangely, still an ongoing cultural battle, but to kick up a fuss on Instagram seems especially childish. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Model Elsa Hosk Says Random Men DM Her and Criticize Her Breastfeeding Pics," 31 Mar. 2021 No longer holding herself responsible for what happened to her childish body, adolescent reputation and womanly psyche, Febos got free. Washington Post, "Melissa Febos’s ‘Girlhood’ brilliantly illuminates how women are conditioned to be complicit in their own exploitation," 28 Mar. 2021 The act is at once hostile and childish, but the substitution is doubly ironic—not only because Mountain Dew–as–urine is an old joke, but also because Mountain Dew in this film is already a false symbol of American abundance and nourishment. Anne Anlin Cheng, The Atlantic, "The Double Meaning of the American Dream," 19 Feb. 2021 And no, that doesn't mean childish murals and plush toys—rather, spaces that kids can grow into while fostering their creativity. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Corey Damen Jenkins's Debut Book Is an Ode to Detroit and a Primer for a Fresh Take on Traditional Design," 22 Mar. 2021 If anything, the only real surprise was that these childish actions were coming from a sitting member of Congress. Time, "Why the Equality Act Matters For Our Family—And For Many Others Across America," 3 Mar. 2021 Soonja is both childish and wise, eccentric, often embarrassing, lewd and loving. Glenn Whipp Entertainment Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Review: After an exhausting 2020, the gentle ‘Minari’ is the movie we need right now," 10 Dec. 2020 One frequently cited example appears in Tintin in the Congo, a 1931 comic that depicts African people as childish, lazy caricatures. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Tintin Drawing Sold for €3.2 Million Is the World’s Most Expensive Comic Book Art," 15 Jan. 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for childish

see child

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Time Traveler for childish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for childish

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Childish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for childish



English Language Learners Definition of childish

: of a child or typical of a child especially, disapproving : having or showing the unpleasant qualities (such as silliness or lack of maturity) that children often have


child·​ish | \ ˈchīl-dish How to pronounce childish (audio) \

Kids Definition of childish

1 : of, like, or thought to be suitable to children childish laughter
2 : showing the less pleasing qualities (as silliness) often thought to be those of children a childish prank

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