Infantilize is just a baby, relatively speaking, in the English language family. It first saw the light of day in the early 1940s, when social scientists started using it to discuss ways that humans or human activity can prolong or encourage dependency in other humans by treating them as helpless. The adjective "infantile," which gave birth to "infantilize," is far more mature, however - it's over 300 years old. "Infantile" sometimes literally means "relating to infants" - that is, to children in the first year of life - but it also has a broader meaning; if I chide someone for his or her infantile behavior I simply mean that the person is acting immature or childish.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'infantilize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.