baby

1 of 3

noun

ba·​by ˈbā-bē How to pronounce baby (audio)
plural babies
1
a(1)
: an extremely young child
especially : infant
(2)
: an extremely young animal
b
: the youngest of a group
He is the baby of the family.
2
a
: one that is like a baby (as in behavior)
When it comes to getting shots, I'm a real baby.
b
: something that is one's special responsibility, achievement, or interest
The project was his baby.
3
slang
a
: girl, woman
often used in address
b
: boy, man
often used in address
Hey baby, nice car!
4
: person, thing
is one tough baby
babyhood noun
babyish adjective

baby

2 of 3

adjective

1
: of, relating to, or being an extremely young child
a baby bonnet
2
: much smaller than the usual
baby carrots
a baby grand piano
Take baby steps.

baby

3 of 3

verb

babied; babying

transitive verb

1
: to tend to indulge with often excessive or inappropriate care and solicitude
babying their only child
2
: to use or treat with care
babying a sore knee
Choose the Right Synonym for baby

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings.

indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires.

indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse

pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect.

pampered by the amenities of modern living

humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims.

humored him by letting him tell the story

spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering.

foolish parents spoil their children

baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude.

babying students by grading too easily

mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare.

refused to mollycoddle her malingering son

Example Sentences

Noun I hear the baby crying. The baby is just learning to crawl. a bird and its babies My sister is the baby of the family. “Only 32? Oh, you're just a baby!” When it comes to getting shots, I'm a real baby. Don't be such a baby—you'll get your turn. Nothing's gone right since my baby went away. Verb That boy will never learn to stand up for himself if you don't stop babying him. He was babying his injured foot. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In September, an anonymous tipster reported a potential Charleston, South Carolina, sighting of a woman who may have gone missing as a baby from her home in Texas 51 years ago. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 15 Nov. 2022 The car pulled onto Kelly Street, where Hirsch lived as a baby. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 Eilish dressed up as a baby, wearing a bright and colorful outfit complete with a bonnet that had a teddy bear print, and Rutherford went as an old man with blue suspenders, a brown sweater and a bald cap. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 6 Nov. 2022 In the photo, Eilish is dressed as a baby with her blonde hair framing her face in ringlets, while Rutherford transformed himself into an elderly man, possibly making reference to the pair’s 11-year age gap. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, 6 Nov. 2022 Eilish and Rutherford seemed to send a message about their age gap to critics by wearing Halloween costumes dressed as a baby and an old man. Marianne Garvey, CNN, 2 Nov. 2022 According to separate images obtained by PopCrave, the 20-year-old Grammy-winning singer and frontman of The Neighbourhood dressed up as a baby and an old man, respectively. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 31 Oct. 2022 There’s Clark Burgert, who’s grown up with the theater, and his mom, Susie, who took the time to put together real photos of Clark as a baby and of her late brother — a diabetic, like a character in the play — that an actor could unfurl onstage. Lissandra Villa, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Oct. 2022 Experiencing homelessness as a baby — and even before birth — can have deleterious health effects. Jennifer Brookland, Detroit Free Press, 27 Oct. 2022
Adjective
Sherri Saum has her 23-month-old twin sons John and Michael to thank for her toned post-baby body. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 1 Oct. 2022 The Don't Look Up actress attended the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of her new film Causeway at the Royal Alexandra Theatre yesterday, in a glamorous spin on her breezy post-baby style. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 11 Sep. 2022 Lively previously opened up about her post-baby body struggles after welcoming her third daughter, Betty, in October 2019. Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 24 Aug. 2022 Workouts in the park for the shrinking of post-baby bodies. Helena Andrews-dyer, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2022 Since welcoming Wave, Cardi hasn't shied away from speaking about her post-baby body. Giovana Gelhoren, Peoplemag, 11 Aug. 2022 Simpson has famously dealt with weight gain and weight loss throughout the years — all while in the public eye — and says she's always shocked by her body's ability to go back to her pre-baby size. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 15 Apr. 2022 Rihanna made another stylish post-baby appearance for A$AP Rocky's Rolling Loud set yesterday. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 July 2022 Since welcoming Wave, Cardi hasn't shied away from speaking about her post-baby body. Charmaine Patterson, PEOPLE.com, 29 June 2022
Verb
From hot chocolate, to PJs, to sweat pants, to hats, to baby clothes, to dog clothes... Melanie Rud, Peoplemag, 4 Nov. 2022 And in the middle of it was Joseph, standing like an Oscar figure with a stick, and next to him was Mary and baby Jesus. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Oct. 2022 For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products from double strollers to baby toys. Jamie Spain, Good Housekeeping, 13 Sep. 2022 The supermodel and mom to baby Khai has been giving sneak peeks of the clothing line on Instagram for weeks, teasing fans with glimpses of fabric swatches and color samples, and the 100% cashmere brand is finally here. Seventeen, 7 Sep. 2022 Then the timeline jumps to the ninth year of King Viserys' reign, and then forward half a year after Queen Aemma's death, and then three years later to baby Aegon II's second birthday name day. ELLE, 5 Sep. 2022 With the pandemic receding, voters have been whipsawed by economic uncertainty, public safety concerns, lingering public health threats, and shortages of everything from used cars to baby formula to teachers. Jennifer Medina, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Sep. 2022 All Together: Recipes To Love and The Pepper Thai Cookbook, respectively, to baby Jack as well. Emily Weaver, Peoplemag, 9 Aug. 2022 From low-rise jeans to baby tees to the mini-est of mini skirts, the look that had been dominating Gen Z TikTok and Instagram archive accounts made its way onto the runways and into campaigns and editorials. José Criales-unzueta, Vogue, 22 July 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from babe

Adjective

attributive use of baby entry 1

Verb

verbal derivative of baby entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Adjective

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of baby was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near baby

Cite this Entry

“Baby.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baby. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

baby 1 of 3

noun

ba·​by ˈbā-bē How to pronounce baby (audio)
plural babies
1
a
: a very young child
especially : infant
b
: a very young animal
2
: the youngest of a group
3
: a childish person
babyhood noun
babyish adjective

baby

2 of 3

adjective

1
: being or relating to a baby
a baby deer
my baby sister
baby clothes
2
: much smaller than usual
a baby grand piano
baby carrots
a baby spaceship

baby

3 of 3

verb

babied; babying
1
: to use or treat as a baby : pet
2
: to operate or treat with care
babied the car

Medical Definition

baby

noun

ba·​by ˈbā-bē How to pronounce baby (audio)
plural babies
1
: an extremely young child
especially : infant
2
: an extremely young animal
baby adjective
babyhood noun
babyish adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on baby

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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