Definition of child in English:



  • 1A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.

    ‘she'd been playing tennis since she was a child’
    ‘the film is not suitable for children’
    • ‘Unions say that children as young as three have physically attacked teachers as well as other pupils.’
    • ‘On one occasion, we visited an orphanage and the youngest child, a 3 year old, fell asleep on my lap.’
    • ‘As a young child, Jane was often responsible for her own physical care and the care of her mother.’
    • ‘The ultrasound probe is used mainly for head scanning of newborn babies and young children.’
    • ‘It usually affects children, teenagers and young adults and requires daily injections of insulin.’
    • ‘Briefly, it showed a row of young children sitting on a school stage.’
    • ‘It was the smaller children and young girls who could not be expected to speak out.’
    • ‘Is it inevitable when a baby or a young child gets these autoantibodies that they go on to develop diabetes?’
    • ‘While at play, toddlers and young children are usually in the care of older siblings.’
    • ‘I have issues with the shininess of cover designs for children and young adults this year.’
    • ‘Our member companies are committed to the health and wellbeing of infants and young children.’
    • ‘She says she does not know of any European countries where children started school as young as they do in Britain.’
    • ‘Twenty-one young children from the local schools marched in step, each child carrying a rose.’
    • ‘Sometimes when I look back on my life as a child or young adolescent, it is through the eyes of a bemused observer.’
    • ‘Malnourishment prevents a child from reaching full mental and physical development.’
    • ‘The six sessions include giving tips and ideas for playing with young children and toddlers.’
    • ‘They bullied younger children, they teased girls, they fought boys weaker than themselves.’
    • ‘A young child needs to develop a sense that he or she is a good and valued human being on this earth.’
    • ‘Would you like to have your say on issues that effect children and young people?’
    • ‘He felt strongly about inequality of any kind and mentored young children excluded from school.’
    youngster, young one, little one, boy, girl
    baby, newborn, infant, toddler
    schoolboy, schoolgirl, adolescent, teenager, youth, young man, young woman, young lady, young person, young adult, juvenile, minor, junior
    stripling, fledgling, whippersnapper
    son, daughter, son and heir, scion, descendant
    offspring, progeny, issue
    bairn, wean, laddie, lassie
    kid, kiddie, kiddiewink, nipper, tot, tiny, tiny tot, shaver, young 'un, lad, lass, teen, teenybopper
    rug rat
    brat, chit, urchin, guttersnipe
    babe, babe in arms
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A son or daughter of any age.
      ‘when children leave home, parents can feel somewhat redundant’
      • ‘This is what it takes to be a good child; a good son; a good daughter; a good citizen.’
      • ‘It was here they raised their family of six children, five sons and a daughter.’
      • ‘Here was a father who lost not one but two children in quick succession, in the prime of their lives.’
      • ‘He had two children, but his son Michael died in a car accident 20 years ago.’
      • ‘Just over a year ago she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Deva.’
      • ‘He and his wife have two children, a daughter who is approximately four years of age and a son who is about one.’
      • ‘As far as the newspaper was concerned, his father had only one child, a daughter.’
      • ‘The daughter now has a child of her own and is trying to complete high school.’
      • ‘All parents want their children to be happy and most want their children to be successful.’
      • ‘There they raised their own family of seven children, four sons and three daughters.’
      • ‘My four children and three step-children could have ended up without a father.’
      • ‘The couple had one child, their daughter Sonya, who went to Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton.’
      • ‘Outside in the yard was a father a mother and their two children, a son and a daughter.’
      • ‘He says that Caroline is not fit to bring up children and that his daughters are not staying in that immoral environment.’
      • ‘She revelled in the academic and sporting successes of her children and grandchildren.’
      • ‘I have chosen to stay at home to bring up my daughter and any other children that I may choose to have.’
      • ‘She said that if she had children she would want daughters like Holly.’
      • ‘The couple had three children, a daughter and two sons who work in the business.’
      • ‘I would be single and successful with no children, while still hanging on to some sort of cool bohemian style.’
      • ‘His second child, a daughter, was born when he was still studying in Bangkok.’
      descendant, offshoot
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2An immature or irresponsible person.
      ‘she's such a child!’
    3. 1.3A person who has little or no experience in a particular area.
      ‘he's a child in financial matters’
    4. 1.4archaic The descendants of a family or people.
      ‘the children of Abraham’
      descendants, heirs, successors, offspring, children, family, progeny, scions
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5A person regarded as the product of (a specified influence or environment)
      ‘a child of the Sixties’
      • ‘I mean, it is an iD shareware product, the child of a small independent studio.’
      • ‘What is the destiny that is to be fulfilled, and who is the one true child of it?’
      • ‘They deeply fear a strange child of Feng Shui style energy lines.’
      • ‘Online dating has become the darling child of our media empire this decade.’
      • ‘And which child of the Generation Next is interested in collecting greeting cards?’


  • child's play

    • A task which is easily accomplished.

      ‘tapping telephones is child's play’
      • ‘His piano concertos - all five of them - are among the most eminently enjoyable works in that genre and no child's play at all.’
      • ‘Without much help from parents or teachers, an easy point and browse mechanism would be child's play.’
      • ‘People think that it's just child's play but it's very demanding.’
      • ‘It is child's play to access your bank account and track your movements through your mobile or by the cash withdrawals that you make.’
      • ‘Memorising the dates and events in your history books and the complex equations in chemistry would just be child's play.’
      • ‘She is now taking an advanced diploma, which is anything but child's play.’
      • ‘Dealing with this should be child's play for a party with a will to win.’
      • ‘The task would have been child's play to even the very worst of pickpockets.’
      • ‘She makes bringing up baby sound like child's play.’
      • ‘Obviously, profiting from such an intrusion requires skill; though as we've illustrated, getting inside the network is child's play.’
  • from a child

    • Since childhood.

      ‘from a child she had taken ballet lessons’
      • ‘The Nick I've known from a child up until his adult age would never put his life ahead of the love for his family.’
      • ‘He's also Sullivan's surrogate father, having raised him from a child to become one of his most loyal employees.’
      • ‘As the son of a minister who had been taught the Scriptures and the ways of God from a child, I had enough head knowledge to talk and fit into Christian situations.’
  • with child

    • archaic Pregnant.

      • ‘Yesterday, I drove out to St. Thomas to do a little private practice for one of my colleagues who is with child.’
      • ‘Slowly, her body returns to the form it was before she was with child.’
      • ‘Not being with child, I cannot attest to the truthfulness of the latter claim - and there is only so much I'll do in the name of research.’
      • ‘While I walk, I muse on art and life. Back home, I make breakfast for Rose, who is with child.’
      • ‘The duke had no heirs, only a wife who was about five months with child.’
      expecting a baby, having a baby, with a baby on the way, having a child, expectant, carrying a child
      View synonyms


Old English cild, of Germanic origin. The Middle English plural childer or childre became childeren or children by association with plurals ending in -en, such as brethren.