child·​ish ˈchī(-ə)l-dish How to pronounce childish (audio)
: of, relating to, or befitting a child or childhood
childish desires for toys
: marked by or suggestive of immaturity and lack of poise
a childish spiteful remark
: lacking complexity : simple
it's a childish device, but it works
: deteriorated with age especially in mind : senile
his parents … were both getting childish and needed carePearl Buck
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Fall is the time of year when Hollywood puts away its childish things to focus on prestige pictures and Oscar bait. Odie Henderson,, 8 Sep. 2023 For Ryan Rivera, that moment is being among a group of preteen boys who set fire to a trash can near their middle school’s atrium, a childish mistake that cast him into the school-to-prison pipeline. Julia Craven, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 Even the National Review and Christianity Today dinged Anthony for his childish and mean-spirited thinking, with its tired echoes of Ronald Reagan’s blame-the-poor rhetoric. Mikael Wood, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Aug. 2023 King on Screen platforms naïve fanboys who embellish their own childish superstitions. Armond White, National Review, 18 Aug. 2023 My father, curiously also named Kenny, tolerated these childish tastes while leading by example, passing down to me, without being pushy about it, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, some Grateful Dead, Herbie Hancock. Justin E. H. Smith, Harper's Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 As a teenager, there was a phase when Barbie thought her name was childish. Anne Branigin, Washington Post, 15 July 2023 Futons notoriously get a bad rap for looking cheap, childish (think, college dorms) and unfashionable — when in reality, many of the best futons are just as stylish and comfortable as your everyday sofa. Good Housekeeping, 21 July 2023 Charity made the right decision, paving the way for the rest of the season without looking back at the childish drama. Ben Flanagan |, al, 18 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'childish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see child

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near childish

Cite this Entry

“Childish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


child·​ish ˈchīl-dish How to pronounce childish (audio)
: of, resembling, or suitable to a child
childish laughter
: showing the less pleasing qualities (as silliness) often thought to be those of children
childishly adverb
childishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on childish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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