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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web To try to escape those things was childish and anti‐novelistic. Elif Batuman, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 These images alternate with confessions of childish schemes such as a habit of defrauding the tooth fairy by placing fake teeth under her pillow. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Guaranteed to inspire childish delight and endless selfies. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 Putin and a tame friend, one Dmitry Medvedev, openly played an almost childish game with the Russian constitution whereby when one was president, the other was prime minister. David Pryce-jones, National Review, 3 Mar. 2022 There’s a very childish part of ourselves that needs to separate these things. Tim Gray, Variety, 27 Jan. 2022 Those who dislike us in other countries often describe us as childish, violent hotheads who can’t control our emotions. Kyle Smith, National Review, 28 Mar. 2022 While Edwina's not into it, Kate's delighted by the Bridgertons' childish competitive spirit, and truly, this scene is everything any book fan could've wanted. Sara Netzley,, 26 Mar. 2022 Squabbles and fights, any childish disagreements with the Assembly, only bring public focus to bear on all facets of the administration. Anchorage Daily News, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of childish

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

History and Etymology for childish

see child

Learn More About childish

Time Traveler for childish

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near childish

childing pink


child labor

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for childish

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Childish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for childish


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

More from Merriam-Webster on childish

Nglish: Translation of childish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of childish for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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