Definitions

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

  • n. The time or state of being a child.
  • n. The early stage in the existence or development of something: the childhood of Western civilization.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being a child.
  • n. The time during which one is a child, from between infancy and puberty.
  • n. The early stages of development of something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being a child; the time in which persons are children; the condition or time from infancy to puberty.
  • n. Children, taken collectively.
  • n. The commencement; the first period.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being a child, or the time during which a person is termed a child; the time from birth to puberty; in a more restricted sense, the state or time from infancy to boyhood or girlhood; the period during which constant maternal care continues to be needed.

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

  • n. the time of person's life when they are a child
  • n. the state of a child between infancy and adolescence

Etymologies

From Middle English childhod, from Old English ċildhād ("childhood"), from ċild ("child") + -hād ("-hood"), equivalent to child +‎ -hood. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Inasmuch as the symptoms of this latter come to differ from those of childhood proper, not abruptly, but gradually, the first years, at least, of youth will often come under our consideration, and I shall speak of this period of life as the _third period of childhood_.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

  • If we consider how essential to such a masterpiece is inoculation of belief in the tender age of childhood, the system of missions appears no longer merely as the height of human importunity, arrogance, and impertinence, but also of absurdity; in so far as it does not confine itself to people who are still in the stage of _childhood_, such as the Hottentots, Kaffirs,

    Essays of Schopenhauer

  • At the time, the term childhood obesity was not making headlines, but the running community, usually ahead of the curve when it comes to health issues, felt that kids were in need of an extra push to get out and work their bodies.

    Young Runners

  • The term childhood obesity is most often used to describe the rising problem of childhood overweight.

    Baby Bites

  • So much for the notion that “chubbiness” in childhood is something that is cute and just a sign of a “healthy” appetite.

    Dr. Sharma’s Obesity Notes » Blog Archive » Obesity Promotes Musculoskeletal Problems in Kids

  • Increased fat in childhood is a known risk for being overweight in adulthood.

    Bottle-feeding babies can lead to adult obesity, says study

  • Like many others of the past few generations, my introduction to the works of Lewis Carroll came to me in childhood from the hegemony of Walt Disney.

    Archive 2009-10-01

  • I doubt that it gave any noticeable benefit - making up for what has been missed in childhood is very difficult.

    Vitaly L. Ginzburg - Autobiography

  • A few cigarettes, a few mouthfuls of meat, a few annas pilfered in childhood from the maidservant, two visits to a brothel (on each occasion he got away without “doing anything”), one narrowly escaped lapse with his landlady in Plymouth, one outburst of temperthat is about the whole collection.

    Reflections on Gandhi

  • And either was ever ready to listen to the smallest of these little mysteries, knowing that nothing in childhood is too trivial for the notice, too foolish for the sympathy, of those on whom the Father of all men has bestowed the holy dignity of parenthood.

    John Halifax, Gentleman

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