child

noun, often attributive
\ ˈchī(-ə)ld How to pronounce child (audio) \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən How to pronounce children (audio) , -​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 puberty 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 the age of majority (see majority sense 2a) Under the law she is still a child.
3 usually childe \ ˈchī(-​ə)ld How to pronounce childe (audio) \, 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 How to pronounce Child (audio) \

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 How to pronounce childless (audio) \ adjective
childlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for child

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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 Every Southerner Should Know Cokie Roberts leaves behind her husband of 53 years, Steve Roberts; their two children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts; and her six grandchildren. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "New Orleans Native and Legendary Journalist Cokie Roberts Has Died," 17 Sep. 2019 Most notably there was the practice of separating parents from their children at the border, which the public may be surprised to understand is still ongoing. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "An Immigration Attorney at the A.C.L.U. on Fighting Trump’s Asylum Ban," 17 Sep. 2019 Laina had that day off and was enjoying the beach with her children. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Family fears foul play involved in disappearance of grandmother missing 40 days from Massachusetts home," 16 Sep. 2019 Parents who want their child to be included in the GT screening should complete a secondary parent checklist and return it to the campus by Sept. 19, 2019. Mike Glenn, Houston Chronicle, "Gifted and talented screening for 5th graders at Katy ISD," 16 Sep. 2019 Queen’s Deli helped Yin support her family, including funding her children’s education. Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Queen’s Deli in White Center nurtured the Khmer community," 16 Sep. 2019 Our favorite tall child is getting transcendental (and perhaps a beard). Rachel Yang, EW.com, "John Mulaney will play Henry David Thoreau in Apple TV+'s Dickinson," 15 Sep. 2019 The group is an intergenerational playgroup for families with preschool children, led by Guy and Tess. courant.com, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 13 Sep. 2019 Emotional support clowns are typically used in situations with children that require a bit more, well, emotional support. oregonlive, "New Zealand worker feared he might lose his job. So he brought an emotional support clown to work.," 13 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for child

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for child

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Child.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/children. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for child

child

noun
How to pronounce Child (audio)

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 How to pronounce child (audio) \
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 How to pronounce child (audio) \
plural children\ ˈchil-​drən, -​dərn How to pronounce children (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for child

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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