Definition of infancy in US English:



  • 1The state or period of early childhood or babyhood.

    ‘a son who died in infancy’
    • ‘Some have symptoms in infancy or early childhood of urinary tract infection or obstruction.’
    • ‘People learn to make visual sense of faces and other items of interest, often during infancy and early childhood but sometimes over much longer periods.’
    • ‘Her milk nourished him throughout his infancy and into his childhood.’
    • ‘To die in childhood or infancy is to be deprived of a natural life span; such a death makes one's life a stunted and unshapely affair.’
    • ‘The best time to correct it is during infancy or early childhood.’
    • ‘There is a general preference for boys over girls, although in infancy and early childhood children of both sexes are treated with equal love and care.’
    • ‘Generally speaking, men's fathering behaviors do not center on an investment in childcare during infancy and early childhood.’
    • ‘In rural Bangladesh, for example, more girls than boys die during infancy and early childhood.’
    • ‘The thymus is a primary lymphoid organ in infancy and early childhood.’
    • ‘These arrhythmias usually occur early in life during infancy or childhood.’
    • ‘This is at its best in infancy and early childhood and is lost, as we get older.’
    • ‘People are open to the greatest health risks during infancy and early childhood, and in Egypt and Nubia there was a high infant mortality rate.’
    • ‘Ask parents to bring two photographs of their child, one from infancy or early childhood, and another that is more recent.’
    • ‘In general, I'd like to know about the early childhood, perhaps infancy, of all mathematicians.’
    • ‘Asthma commonly begins early in childhood, even in infancy.’
    • ‘All their children died in infancy, perhaps from childhood infections so easily treated today.’
    • ‘Yesterday health professionals met in Dublin to examine the importance of iron in infancy and early childhood.’
    • ‘To make matters worse, all four of your children have died in infancy, and you can no longer find in yourself the will to meet your husband's physical needs.’
    • ‘Candidates with expertise in infancy and early childhood and in promoting positive mental health are especially welcome.’
    • ‘Injury to the brain in infancy or early childhood can also cause cerebral palsy.’
    babyhood, early childhood
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    1. 1.1 The early stage in the development or growth of something.
      ‘opinion polls were in their infancy’
      • ‘He notes that while geo-thermal and solar energy is still in its infancy, wind power has made significant strides over the past decade, especially in Europe.’
      • ‘Methods for assessment of methodological quality by systematic reviews are still in their infancy and there is substantial room for improvement.’
      • ‘With many university entrepreneurial programmes still in their infancy, Togneri admits that some involve courses that students can opt in or out of, while others are compulsory.’
      • ‘‘Reactions are in their infancy but give it a few weeks and you can expect violent demonstrations,’ he said.’
      • ‘One reason is that cell therapy and gene therapy development are both still in their infancy.’
      • ‘We were golden boys in an era when things like rock-n-roll and television were in their infancy.’
      • ‘For newcomers, Killoughternane, Tuesday night's award ceremony gave a welcome boost to conservation initiatives that are still in their infancy.’
      • ‘Plans are in their infancy, but beer lovers are promised a ‘special’ selection of beers, culled from the group's excellent contacts in the trade.’
      • ‘The editions had a profound influence on the development of English choral societies, then in their infancy.’
      • ‘Thirty years ago credit cards were in their infancy.’
      • ‘‘George Hudson was ideally suited to running and dominating the railways in their infancy in Britain,’ Robert writes.’
      • ‘End user attitudes to seldom offered spyware screening services from ISPs mirror attitudes to spam filtering when such services were in their infancy four or five years ago.’
      • ‘Home computers were still very much in their infancy.’
      • ‘DVDs were still in their infancy and putting a two and a half hour movie on one side of the disc was many months away.’
      • ‘Satellite and wireless Internet access are still in their infancy, and need years to develop.’
      • ‘Its stock markets, which were introduced on an experimental basis in the early l990s, are in their infancy.’
      • ‘He said the building could be paid for by a private finance initiative, but warned plans are complicated and in their infancy.’
      • ‘The most remote galaxies now known are the ones whose light now reaching us was emitted when they were in their infancy, some 13 billion years ago.’
      • ‘Farmers' markets, while in their infancy in Ireland, are expanding, with over 40 now active throughout the country.’
      • ‘Parallelizing compilers are still in their infancy more than 20 years after parallel computers came into use.’
      beginnings, very beginnings, early days, early stages, seeds, roots
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    2. 1.2Law The condition of being a minor.
      • ‘Thus, in this case the court went behind a judgment obtained by default which was founded on a bill of exchange drawn by the debtor during his infancy.’
      • ‘D will be liable where he has used another person to procure the commission of the offence and that person is not guilty of the offence due to, for example, infancy, lack of mens rea or insanity.’
      • ‘This inability often arises from infancy, mental incapacity, or lack of access to counsel.’
      • ‘Some events may terminate infancy automatically, such as, marriage and employment outside the home.’


Late Middle English: from Latin infantia ‘childhood, inability to speak’, from infans, infant- (see infant).