child

play
noun, often attributive \ ˈchī(-ə)ld \

Definition of child

plural children play \ˈchil-drən, -dərn\
1 a :an unborn or recently born person
b dialect :a female infant
2 a :a young person especially between infancy and youth
  • a play for both children and adults
b :a childlike or childish person
  • He is a child in most business matters.
c :a person not yet of age
  • Under the law she is still a child.
3 usually childe play \ˈchī(-ə)ld\ , archaic :a youth of noble birth
4 a :a son or daughter of human parents
  • Do you have any children?
b :descendant
  • the children of Israel
5 :one strongly influenced by another or by a place or state of affairs
  • a child of the streets
  • a child of nature
  • America has been called "the first child of the Enlightenment"
6 :product, result
  • barbed wire … is truly a child of the plains
  • —W. P. Webb

childless

play \ˈchī(-ə)l(d)-ləs\ adjective

childlessness

noun
with child

Examples of child in a Sentence

  1. the birth of a child

  2. She's pregnant with their first child.

  3. a play for both children and adults

  4. All of their children are grown now.

  5. an elderly couple and their adult children

  6. Men are such children sometimes.

Recent Examples of child from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'child.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Is the word kid slang?

Some people worry that kid, when used of a child rather than a juvenile goat, is either slang or too colloquial to merit acceptance in standard English.

The fact is that we have been using kid to refer to a child that is human, rather than goatish, for more than three hundred years now. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that although this word was considered “low slang” when it first began being used, it had entered “familiar speech” by the 19th century.

In contemporary English, kid is neither slang nor improper. It is, however, most definitely informal, so those writing professionally or in a formal register might prefer to use child.

Origin and Etymology of child

Middle English, from Old English cild; akin to Goth kilthei womb, and perhaps to Sanskrit jaṭhara belly


Child

play
biographical name \ ˈchī(-ə)ld \

Definition of Child

Francis James 1825–1896 American ballad editor

Child

biographical name

Definition of Child

Julia (Carolyn) 1912–2004 née McWilliams American chef


CHILD Defined for English Language Learners

child

play
noun

Definition of child for English Language Learners

  • : a young person

  • : a son or daughter

  • : an adult who acts like a child : a childlike or childish person


CHILD Defined for Kids

child

play
noun \ ˈchīld \

Definition of child for Students

plural children \ˈchil-drən\
1 :an unborn or recently born person
2 :a young person of either sex between infancy and youth
3 :a son or daughter of any age
  • My children are grown now.

Medical Dictionary

child

play
noun \ ˈchī(ə)ld \

medical Definition of child

plural children play \ˈchil-drən, -dərn\
1 :an unborn or recently born person
2 :a young person especially between infancy and youth
with child

Law Dictionary

child

noun

legal Definition of child

plural children
1 :a son or daughter of any age and usually including one formally adopted — compare issue
Note: The word child as used in a statute or will is often held to include a stepchild, an illegitimate child, a person for whom one stands in loco parentis, or sometimes a more remote descendant, such as a grandchild. In interpreting the word child as used in a will, the court will try to effectuate the intent of the person who made the will as it can be determined from the language of the will.
2 :a person below an age specified by law :infant, minor
  • assault on a child under 16 years of age
— compare adult
Note: A person who is below the statutory age but is married will usually be considered an adult.


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