child

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən , -​dərn \

Definition of child

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : an unborn or recently born person
b dialect : a female infant
2a : 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 \ ˈchī(-​ə)ld \, archaic : a youth of noble birth
4a : 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
with child

Child

biographical name (1)
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld \

Definition of Child (Entry 2 of 3)

Francis James 1825–1896 American ballad editor

Child

biographical name (2)

Definition of Child (Entry 3 of 3)

Julia (Carolyn) 1912–2004 née McWilliams American chef

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Other Words from child

Noun

childless \ ˈchī(-​ə)l(d)-​ləs \ adjective
childlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for child

Synonyms: Noun

bairn [chiefly Scottish], bambino, bud, chap [Southern & Midland], chick, cub, juvenile, kid, kiddie (also kiddy), kiddo, moppet, sprat, sprout, squirt, whelp, youngling, youngster, youth

Antonyms: Noun

adult, grown-up

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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.

Examples of child in a Sentence

Noun

the birth of a child She's pregnant with their first child. a play for both children and adults All of their children are grown now. an elderly couple and their adult children Men are such children sometimes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Further, researchers argue that Disney princesses, who can be so ubiquitous in young children’s lives, especially little girls,’ perpetuate already-extreme and unrealistic ideals of beauty and body image. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "You’re Not Crazy—Disney Princesses Have Insanely Small Waists (and Looking at Them Is Not Great for Kids)," 17 Jan. 2019 Some gossip sites speculated wildly about the reasons for her pregnancy and her child's paternity. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "Jamie Lynn Spears Claims the Real Reason Zoey 101 Ended Wasn't Pregnancy," 10 Jan. 2019 Helene Stapinski writes about how Instagram helped her understand her 15-year-old daughter: Social media has been blamed for ruining our democracy, shortening our children’s attention spans and undermining the fabric of society. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s role in the French protests has polarized observers," 11 Dec. 2018 As a whole, doctors generally recommend this if a child's case seems severe enough. Korin Miller, SELF, "My Son, Like Chrissy Teigen’s, Wore a Corrective Helmet as a Baby for a Flat Spot," 4 Dec. 2018 Upstairs, there’s a children’s bedroom and a bonus room that has a skylight and portal that looks out onto the surrounding hills. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern Japanese house has a climbable roof," 26 Nov. 2018 Immigrants and children of immigrants were thus encouraged to loosen, if not sever, ties to their ancestral homelands in the interest of promoting a supposedly more unified United States. John Check, WSJ, "‘Making Music American’ Review: Turning Swords Into Saxophones," 28 Dec. 2018 Princess Victoria, the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and heir to the throne, dug into the royal archives for her look. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Swedish Princesses Showed Off Epic Royal Style at the Nobel Prize Ceremony," 10 Dec. 2018 Just a few months after the accident, Stephanie and her husband, Joe, founded the Stephanie Decker Foundation, which sends children with prosthetics to sports camps. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of child

Noun

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

History and Etymology for child

Noun

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

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More Definitions for child

child

noun

English Language Learners Definition of child

: a young person

: a son or daughter

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

child

noun
\ ˈchīld \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən \

Kids Definition of child

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.

child

noun
\ ˈchī(ə)ld \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən, -​dərn \

Medical Definition of child

1 : an unborn or recently born person
2 : a young person especially between infancy and youth
with child

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child

noun
plural children

Legal Definition of child

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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More from Merriam-Webster on child

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with child

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for child

Spanish Central: Translation of child

Nglish: Translation of child for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of child for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about child

Comments on child

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