from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person between birth and puberty.
  • noun A person who has not attained maturity or the age of legal majority.
  • noun An unborn infant; a fetus.
  • noun An infant; a baby.
  • noun One who is childish or immature.
  • noun A son or daughter; an offspring.
  • noun A member of a tribe; descendant.
  • noun An individual regarded as strongly affected by another or by a specified time, place, or circumstance.
  • noun A product or result of something specified.
  • idiom (with child) Pregnant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A male or female descendant in the first degree; the immediate progeny of human parents; a son or daughter: used in direct reference to the parentage of the person spoken of, without regard to sex.
  • noun A descendant more remote than the first degree; a descendant, however remote: as, the children of Israel.
  • noun plural The inhabitants of a country: as, “the children of Seir,” 2 Chron. xxv. 11.
  • noun Specifically, a very young person; one not old enough to dispense with maternal aid and care. See childhood.
  • noun Figuratively, a childish man or woman; one who resembles a child in lack of knowledge, experience, or judgment.
  • noun In general, anything regarded as the offspring or product of something which is specified; product; result: as, disease is the child of intemperance; children of darkness.
  • noun A girl.
  • noun In old and poetical usage, a noble youth; a youth, especially one of high birth, before he was advanced to the honor of knighthood; a squire: also applied to a knight.
  • noun A person in general.
  • noun More especially, an illegitimate child; one who is actually the child but not the lawful issue of the suggested parent.
  • noun Synonyms plural Offspring, issue, progeny.
  • To produce children; brinig forth offspring.
  • To bring forth as a child.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A son or a daughter; a male or female descendant, in the first degree; the immediate progeny of human parents; -- in law, legitimate offspring. Used also of animals and plants.
  • noun A descendant, however remote; -- used esp. in the plural.
  • noun One who, by character of practice, shows signs of relationship to, or of the influence of, another; one closely connected with a place, occupation, character, etc..
  • noun obsolete A noble youth. See Childe.
  • noun A young person of either sex. esp. one between infancy and youth; hence, one who exhibits the characteristics of a very young person, as innocence, obedience, trustfulness, limited understanding, etc.
  • noun obsolete A female infant.
  • noun to be pregnant.
  • noun light work; a trifling contest.
  • intransitive verb To give birth; to produce young.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A daughter or son; an offspring.
  • noun figuratively An offspring; one born in, or considered a product of the culture of, a place.
  • noun figuratively A member of a tribe, a people or a race of beings; one born into or considered a product of a people.
  • noun figuratively A thing or abstraction derived from or caused by something.
  • noun A person who is below the age of adulthood; a minor (person who is below the legal age of responsibility or accountability).
  • noun computing A data item, process or object which has a subservient or derivative role relative to another data item, process or object.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a human offspring (son or daughter) of any age
  • noun a young person of either sex
  • noun an immature childish person
  • noun a member of a clan or tribe


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English cild.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English ċild ("child, infant, youth of gentle birth"), from Proto-Germanic *kildiz (“child in the womb, fruit of the womb, child”), from Proto-Indo-European *g(')elt- (“womb”). Cognate with Danish kuld ("brood, litter"), Swedish kull ("brood, litter"), Icelandic kelta, kjalta ("lap"), Gothic 𐌺𐌹𐌻𐌸𐌴𐌹 (kilþei, "womb"), Sanskrit जर्त (jarta), जर्तु (jártu, "vulva").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word child.


  • I was no longer “a child of the devil”, “a maiden accursed”; but it was “my love, my soul, light of my eyes, my child”.

    The Adventures of Hajji Baba of Ispahan James Morier

  • _Surely, I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child_.

    Daily Strength for Daily Needs Mary W. Tileston

  • He meant to set the child right; he meant to see _only_ the _child_ in her until White returned; he would ignore the perilously sweet woman-appeal to his senses until such time as he could, with safety, let them once more hold part in their relations with each other.

    The Man Thou Gavest

  • QUOTATION: When I was a child, I spake as a child….

    Quotations New Testament. 1919

  • Any child who needed a mother so much, was _her own child_.

    The Brimming Cup Dorothy Canfield Fisher 1918

  • The comprehension of much language can be given to the little deaf child by constantly talking just as any mother does to her hearing baby, only being always careful to take a position facing the main source of light, which should come _from behind the child_.

    What the Mother of a Deaf Child Ought to Know John Dutton Wright 1909

  • My child you never would believe to be _my child_, from the evidence of his immense cheeks and chins -- for pray don't suppose that he has only one chin.

    The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1 of 2) 1907

  • And there was Polly, the child, seated in the room, and looking about nine or ten years old: and I was distinctly conscious of the fact, yet without any feeling of surprise at its incongruity, that I was going to take the _child_ Polly with me to the theatre, to see the _grown-up_ Polly act!

    The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll (Rev. C. L. Dodgson) Stuart Dodgson Collingwood 1903

  • "_God of love, guard Thy child; God of power, save Thy child_," I prayed.

    Possessed Cleveland Moffett 1894

  • And in Delia's there will reverberate till death that wail of a fierce and childless woman -- that last cry of nature in one who had defied nature -- of womanhood in one who had renounced the ways of womanhood: "_the child -- the child_!"

    Delia Blanchflower Humphry Ward 1885


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 'Isn't it ironic that Rush Limbaugh called Barack Obama "the little black man-child"? You could describe Rush the same way, if you leave out the words "little," "black," and "man."'

    Newsweek, "The Dignity Index: Win Nine Golds, Kid, and Then We'll Talk," September 1, 2008

    August 28, 2008