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 : a young person especially between infancy and puberty a play for both children and adults
b : a person not yet of the age of majority (see majority sense 2a) Under the law she is still a child.
c : a childlike or childish person He is a child in most business matters.
2a : a son or daughter of human parents Do you have any children?
b : descendant the children of Israel
3a : an unborn or recently born person … Meghan Markle, married Prince Harry, now pregnant with child.— Laura Simonetti
b dialect : a female infant
4 : 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"
5 : product, result barbed wire … is truly a child of the plains— W. P. Webb
6 usually childe \ ˈchī(-​ə)ld How to pronounce childe (audio) \, archaic : a youth of noble birth
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 Barnett ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to two years of probation. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Daisy Coleman, student featured in Netflix documentary on sexual assault, dies by suicide," 6 Aug. 2020 Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the child was asked to call 911. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police issue Amber Alert after 2-year-old taken by father," 4 Aug. 2020 The length of a child’s pinkie finger, the slug had four antennae protruding from its face, but no eyes. Anchorage Daily News, "A look at the banana slugs that ooze over coastal Alaska," 1 Aug. 2020 California health officials reported the state's first coronavirus death of a child on Friday as the statewide tally of fatalities surpassed 9,000, saying the victim was a teenager who had other health conditions. Kathleen Ronayne, Star Tribune, "California officials report first virus death of a child," 31 July 2020 The bill lets schools operating summer feeding and after-school programs to serve all children without having to certify the eligibility of each individual child. Washington Post, "Should all American kids get a free school lunch? The pandemic might make that a reality," 31 July 2020 Louisville Metro Police responded Friday morning to a report of a child being shot in Southern Louisville, according to a spokesman. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "5-year-old shot in Louisville and is in critical condition, LMPD says," 31 July 2020 Police say they were called to an apartment in Ecorse Tuesday morning on a report of an unresponsive child, reports the station. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Mich. Boy, 1, Is Beaten to Death and Twin Is Hospitalized as Mom and Boyfriend Are Charged," 29 July 2020 Officials reported the state’s first pediatric death from the coronavirus Saturday, announcing the death of a child under the age of 5. USA TODAY, "Bull riding, Whac-a-Mole, prisoner release: News from around our 50 states," 14 July 2020

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 3a

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

11 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Child.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/child. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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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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Comments on child

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