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child, n.

Keywords:
Quotations:
Pronunciation: 
Brit. /tʃʌɪld/
U.S. /tʃaɪld/
Inflections:   Plural children .
Forms:  1. Singular.

α. OE chid (as byname, transmission error), OE cil- (in compounds), OE cilt (as byname), OE cit (as byname, transmission error), OE scild (as byname), OE (as byname) ME– child, OE–eME cild, OE (rare)–eME cyld, lOE cylde- (in compounds), eME kild (as byname), ME chelde, ME chiȝld, ME chijld, ME chil, ME chilt, ME chuld, ME chyild, ME chyilde, ME chyl, ME chylld, ME cylde, ME schlde (probably transmission error), ME schyld, ME schylde, ME 16 chield, ME–16 chilld, ME–16 chyld, ME–16 chylde, ME–16 (18 archaic) childe, lME chede (transmission error), 15 chielde, 16 chillde, 18– chile (Irish English (northern)); English regional (chiefly north-west midlands) 18– chilt (Cheshire), 18– chylt (Lancashire); U.S. regional (chiefly southern and in African-American usage) 18– chile; Scottish pre-17 chaylde, pre-17 chyild, pre-17 chyld, pre-17 chylde, pre-17 chyle, pre-17 schild, pre-17 schyld, pre-17 17– child, pre-17 18– childe, 18– chile (rare).

OE   Cynewulf Crist II 725   He in binne wæs in cildes hiw claþum bewunden.
OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) i. 187   Heo þa gelyfde his wordum & wearð mid cylde.
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 233   He wes lute chilt þoa he hit wrachte.
c1275  (?a1216)    Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 1440   Hwat mai þat chil [a1300 Jesus Oxf. child] þah hit misfonge.
a1400  (c1303)    R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne (Harl.) 9557   Ȝyf a chulde be dede bore.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 25959   Þe toþer was a chilld [a1400 Fairf. childe] broght Vnto þe yate o þat cite.
1423   in H. Nicolas Proc. & Ordinances Privy Council (1834) III. 104   Ye nessessary þynges..for ye schyldern of the schapel..every schyld j gowne & j hode.
c1450   J. Capgrave Life St. Katherine (Arun. 396) (1893) i. l. 239   Thus was it norysshed, this noble goodly chield.
1545   in W. Fraser Douglas Bk. (1885) IV. 155   Man, veymen, and chaylde.
1568   in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS (1928) III. 329   The bludy sicht gart hir pairt wt quick chyild.
1641   Lady B. Harley Let. 22 May (1854) 131   It is a most teadious thinge to be sarued by a chillde, without you had other saruants that might healp out his defects.
1672   Edinb. Test. LXXIV. f. 209, in Dict. Older Sc. Tongue (at cited word)   Margaret with the schyld in hir bellie.
1710   R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 317   The child is very promising; he is but six years, and he hath the questions very weel.
1794   R. B. Sheridan Duenna (new ed.) ii. 43   As to her singing..she has a shrill crack'd pipe, that sounds for all the world like a child's trumpet.
1861   H. A. Jacobs Incidents Life Slave Girl xiii. 113   Lord bless you, chile.
1865   B. Brierley Irkdale I. 259   He's nobbut like a chilt in its dadins.
1987   C. Reid Tea in China Cup ii, in Plays: One (1997) 46   She has neither chick nor chile of her own. He stands to inherit the lot when she goes.
2012   Atlantic Oct. 94/2   Early education should follow a child's interests and initiatives rather than shape them.

β. English regional (south-western) 18 chiel', 18– cheal, 18– cheel, 18– cheeld, 18– chiel, 18– chield, 18– chill (Devon), 18– chul (Cornwall); see also chield n.

1860   G. P. R. Pulman Song of Solomon vi. 9   [E. Devonshire] Her's her meuther's saul chiel' an' her dorlin'.
1874   T. Hardy Far from Madding Crowd I. viii. 104   ‘Their daughter was not at all a pretty chiel at that time,’ said Henery Fray.
1892   S. Hewett Peasant Speech Devon 61   I niver did zee sech a cheel as Zacky Arters is.
1968   H. Orton & M. F. Wakelin Surv. Eng. Dial. IV. iii. 923   Nowadays many of them [sc. families] have only one..[Somerset, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset] Chiel.
1993   K. C. Phillipps Gloss. Cornish Dial. (1998) 25   Chield, child.

2. Plural. a.

α. OE cildo (Northumbrian), OE cyld (rare), OE–eME cild, lOE–eME child, eME chyld, eME cilde, eME cylden (dative), eME cyldum (dative), ME childe.

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: Luke xviii. 15   Afferebant autem ad illum et infantes : gebrohton ða to him æc ða cildo.
OE (Mercian)   Rushw. Gospels: Matt. xix. 13   Tunc oblati sunt ei paruuli : þa brohte weron him cild.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) ii. 16   He..ofsloh ealle þa cild [c1200 Hatton þa chyld] þe on Bethleem wæron.
lOE   Names of Relationship in N. R. Ker Catal. MSS containing Anglo-Saxon (1957) 433   Cusins parenz, Isibba child.
a1225  (▸OE)    Rule St. Benet (Winteney) (1888) lix. 119 (heading)    Be ricere manna cilde [L. de filiabus nobilium] odð unrichi hu me sceall hi underfon.
a1225  (▸OE)    Rule St. Benet (Winteney) (1888) lxiii. 129   Ða child [OE Corpus Cambr. þa cild] & þeo ȝeoȝad mid styre & þeowfæstnesse hyre endebyrdnesse filian.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 11578   Þe childe þat were slayne.

β. OE cildas (Northumbrian), OE cildes (Northumbrian), lME chyldes, 15 (Irish English) 19– childs (regional and nonstandard), 18 childes (in sense 3).

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: Matt. xix. 13   Tunc oblati sunt ei paruoli : ða gebroht werun him lytla cnæhtas uel cildas.
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. xvi. 203   Where so many chyldes Thare balys can not bete.
1541   W. Cowley Let. to Lord Deputy 15 Mar. in Jrnl. Kilkenny Archaeol. Soc. (1858) 2 82   He hath many childs and ydlemen, whom he must hitherto have kept to strengthen himself against others.
1840   London & Westm. Rev. 33 311   The ballad of ‘The Seven Heads’ relates to the tragical death of the seven infants of Lara. These ‘childes’, the sons of Gonzalo Gustio, had quarrelled with the followers of Dona Lambra, the wife of their uncle Ruy Velasquez.
1915   H. Willsie Still Jim xiv. 177   Injuns, they no have many childs. They die. Mexicans they have many childs, they live. Niggers, they have many. They live. Whites they no have many childs.
1971   H. Orton & M. V. Barry Surv. Eng. Dial. II. iii. 854   Q[uestion]. In the olden days, families often had up to five or six... [Gloucestershire] Childs.

γ. OE cilderu, OE cildra, OE cildre (rare), OE cildro (rare), OE cildru, eME childran (dative), eME childrum (dative), eME cildrum (dative), ME chelder, ME childir, ME childire, ME childre, ME childur, ME childyre, ME chulder, ME chuldre, ME chyldere, ME chyldyre, ME–15 childyr, ME–15 chylder, ME–15 chyldre, ME–15 chyldur, ME–15 chyldyr, ME–16 childere, ME–17 (18– regional) childer; English regional 18– chelder (Cornwall), 18– childer, 18– childhre (Yorkshire), 18– chiller (Somerset), 18– chilther (Lancashire); Scottish pre-17 childar, pre-17 childere, pre-17 childir, pre-17 childre, pre-17 childyr, pre-17 chvldyr, pre-17 chyldir, pre-17 chyldyr, pre-17 schylder, pre-17 17– childer, pre-17 18 chylder, 19– chiller (Aberdeenshire); also Irish English 17– childer, 18 childhre (northern), 18– childher, 18– childre, 19– childther (northern).

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) lxiii. 459   Forðæm ge sint giet cilderu on eowrum geleafan, ðy ic sceal sellan eow giet mioloc drincan.
OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xix. 186   Cildru behofiað swiðlicere steore and godre gymene to godum ðeawum.
OE   Ælfric's Colloquy (1991) 18   Nos pueri rogamus te, magister, ut doceas nos loqui : we cildra biddaþ þe eala lareow þæt þu tæce us sprecan.
a1225   MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 73   Þa weren monie childre dede fulhtles, & forlorne.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 2655   Childre [c1300 Otho children] swiðe hendi.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 715   Fader and breðere and childre and wif.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Psalms cxii. 1   Preise, ȝee childer, the Lord.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 2707   Toward him com childir thre.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1865) I. 91   Techenge the childre.
1539   C. Tunstall Serm. Palme Sondaye (1823) 41   Besydes women and chylder.
c1550   Complaynt Scotl. (1979) Prol. 7   His propir childir.
a1600  (▸1535)    W. Stewart tr. H. Boece Bk. Cron. Scotl. (1858) 3869   All ȝoung childer sould rudlie nureist be In meit and drink.
1737   J. Ray Let. 16 Dec. in Amer. Weekly Mercury (1738) 5–12 Oct. 1/1   I shall rejoyce exceedingly, to see you and her hear wee yer Childer.
a1774   R. Fergusson Poems (1785) 172   Auld Reekie's childer now Maun stap their lugs wi' teats o' woo, Thy sound to bang.
1812   B. Hofland Hist. Clergyman's Widow v. 45   Why, zur, what cud her do wi zix childer?
1861   E. Waugh Birtle Carter's Tale 31   We're o' God Almighty's childer, mon.
1881   S. Evans Evans's Leicestershire Words (new ed.)    Childer, or Childern, var. of ‘children’.
1885   Tennyson Spinster's Sweet-arts xiii, in Tiresias & Other Poems 111   I niver not wish'd fur childer, I hevn't naw likin' fur brats.
1930   Farmer's Wife Oct. 167   They's too many women an' childer nowadays a-rippin' an' a-tearin', a-runnin' hither an' yon a-pleasurin' theirselves.
1969   K. M. Wells Owl Pen Reader ii. 206   It was their pullet's hope of chick and childer.
1995   J. M. Sims-Kimbrey Wodds & Doggerybaw: Lincs. Dial. Dict. 57/1   Childer, children.

δ. eME childræn, eME cyldren, ME cheldern, ME cheldren, ME childeren, ME childeron, ME childirren, ME childrone, ME childyrn, ME chilldyren, ME chylderyng, ME chyldorne, ME chyldron, ME chyldrone, ME chyldryn, ME chyldyrn, ME chyldyrne, ME scheldrene, ME schyldern, ME schyldryn, ME 16 childrin, ME–15 chelderen, ME–15 chieldren, ME–15 childerne, ME–15 childeryn, ME–15 childrene, ME–15 childrenne, ME–15 childryn, ME–15 chylderen, ME–15 chyldern, ME–15 chylderne, ME–15 chylderyn, ME–16 childern, ME–16 chyldren, ME– children, lME chyrdern (probably transmission error), 15 cheldarne, 15 cheldringe, 15 childurne, 15 chyldearne, 15 chyldrene, 15 chyldrynge, 15–16 childron, 15–17 chilldren, 16 cheldreen, 16 childring, 19– childreen (Irish English); English regional 18 chillirn, 18– cheldern (Cornwall), 18– cheldurn (Cornwall), 18– childerin, 18– childern, 18– childun, 18– childurn, 18– chillern; U.S. regional 18 child'n, 18 childring, 18 childun, 18 chil'en, 18 chillern, 18 chil'ren, 18– childern, 18– childurn, 18– chillun, 19– chilern, 19– chillen, 19– chillurn, 19– chirren, 19– chuldren; Scottish pre-17 chayldring, pre-17 childareine, pre-17 childerene, pre-17 childerin, pre-17 childeryng, pre-17 childreane, pre-17 childreene, pre-17 childrein, pre-17 childreine, pre-17 childreing, pre-17 childrene, pre-17 childreyn, pre-17 childreyne, pre-17 childrin, pre-17 childrine, pre-17 childring, pre-17 childryn, pre-17 childryne, pre-17 childryng, pre-17 chylderein, pre-17 chyldering, pre-17 chyldreine, pre-17 chyldring, pre-17 schildrange, pre-17 schildreine, pre-17 schildreng, pre-17 schildring, pre-17 shildrein, pre-17 shildrin, pre-17 shildring, pre-17 shilldrin, pre-17 17 childering, pre-17 17– children, 18 shildren (Shetland).

c1175  (▸OE)    Ælfric Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 20   Ðæt cydde þe casere þam kynge Archelau, þæs Herodis sune þe þa childræn acwalde.
c1200  (▸OE)    Latin-Old Eng. Gloss. (Bodl. 730) in Eng. Stud. (1981) 62 205/1   Pupilli, stopchildren.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 49   Þet beoð riche men alremest..þe habbeð feire huses, and feire hames, feire wifes, and feire children, feire hors and feire claþes.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 6484   An of þissen children [c1300 Otho childrene].
c1300   Life & Martyrdom Thomas Becket (Harl. 2277) (1845) l. 79   Ȝunge childerne.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 8063   Þer ne bileuede of hor children [c1425 Harl. chyldryn] aliue bote on.
1484   Rolls of Parl.: Richard III (Electronic ed.) Parl. Jan. 1484 §18. m. 16   Their childeryn unpreferred.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. ccxv   Two hundreth children.
1556   in J. G. Nichols Chron. Grey Friars 76   The men chylderne wyth the women chylderne.
1652   in D. Robertson S. Leith Rec. (1911) 288   That the number of Godis schildreng may growe in ruhteousnes.
a1736   in R. A. Hay Geneal. Sainteclaires (1835) 170   The king being altogither preveened by the Earle of Melford, against her and her childering.
1824   in N. E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 308   [North Carolina] Childring.
1873   B. Harte Mrs. Skaggs's Husbands 67   Sandy Claws..gives things to chillern,—boys like me.
1893   G. E. Dartnell & E. H. Goddard Gloss. Words Wilts. 4   Her's that weak her can't away with the childern at no rate!
1898   J. J. H. Burgess Tang 95   The shildren oucht relly to be learned more about their Saviour.
1924   E. O'Neill (title of play)    All God's chillun got wings.
1997   Guardian 23 Apr. (Society section) 9/1   A growing number of children now have to manage a relationship with two stepfamilies.

ε. ME childeres, ME childres; English regional (Yorkshire and Essex) 18– childers; Scottish (Orkney) 19– childers; Irish English 18– childers.

c1300  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Otho) (1963) 2725   [Þe]os swikes gonne ride hom in-to Rome, and ȝarkede hire ȝiftes and alle hire childres [c1275 Calig. ȝisles].
c1425  (c1400)    Laud Troy-bk. l. 17804   Some men wende the noyce thei herde Hadde ben the kynges childres so ferde For her brother Amphimacus.
1839   Poughkeepsie Casket 16 Nov. 126/1   Is this the way you take care of your afflicted wife and seven lawful and suffering childers? Oh! mon, mon.
1854   C. Williams Gloss. W. Yorks. Words in Notes & Queries 18 Nov. 400/1   Childers, children.
1907   C. M. Gaskell Prose Idyls West Riding 305   I'm left a widower, and I've got seven childers livin'.
1971   H. Orton & P. M. Tilling Surv. Eng. Dial. III. iii. 1059   Q[uestion]. In the olden days, families often had up to five or six... [Essex] Childers.
1988   G. Lamb Orkney Wordbk.   Childer, childers, chieler, children.
1996   C. I. Macafee Conc. Ulster Dict. 60/2   [Plural:] childer, childers.

ζ. U.S. regional (southern and south Midland, chiefly in African-American usage) 18 childerns, 18– chilluns, 19– childrens.

1853   S. J. Hale Liberia 42   I'm mighty glad to see you again, and Miss Margaret, and the chilluns, and ole missis.
1869   XIX Cent. June 81   Den de Lord git mad an bleech Adam an Ebe wite in 'bout too minit 'ahalf, an all de chilluns but Cain tek de same cullur since.
1890   J. W. Riley Rhymes of Childhood 18   'Cause all the little childerns there's so straight an' strong an' fine.
1928   ‘M. Chapman’ Happy Mountain 14   And girl childrens grown and married and having childrens themselves.
1966   in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. (1985) I. 623/1   [Alabama] We used to play with white childrens..all the time.
2006   J. L. Miles Cold Rock River viii. 78   How your chilluns be sold and tells about when the freedom come.

b. Genitive.

α. OE cildea (rare), OE cylda (rare), OE–eME cilda, lOE cildæ.

β. OE cildena (Northumbrian).

γ. OE cyldra (rare), OE–eME cildra, lOE childra, lOE cildre, ME childer, ME childur, ME chylder, ME chyldyr, ME–16 childre, 15 chillder.

δ. ME childern', ME childerne, ME childrene, ME chylderen, ME chyldren, ME chyldryn, ME–15 children, 15 childern.

ε. ME childirs, ME childres, ME childris, ME chylderys, ME chyldrys, 15 childers, 17– childer's (regional); Scottish pre-17 childeris.

ζ. lME childrenes, lME childrenz, lME–15 chyldrens, lME– childrens (now nonstandard), 15 childernes, 15– childerns (now regional), 15– children's, 17– childrens' (nonstandard). No attempt has been made to document ε.   and ζ. forms   exhaustively later than the 16th cent.; many of the plural forms listed at Forms 2aγ and Forms 2aδ may be found with similar plural endings.

OE (Northumbrian)   Liturgical Texts (Durham Ritual) in A. H. Thompson & U. Lindelöf Rituale Ecclesiae Dunelmensis (1927) 104   Ut eam sociare digneris inter illa cxliiii milia infantum : þætte hia gifoega ðu gmeodumia bituih ðæm feoero & feortigum & hund' ðusenda cildena.
OE (Mercian)   Rushw. Gospels: Matt. xxi. 16   Ex ore infantium et lactantium perfecisti laudem : of muðe cildra & sukendra uel diendra þu gefylldæst lof.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xxi. 16   Þu fulfremedest lof of cilda & of sacerda muþe.
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 310   Childre [Scribe B childrene] scole.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1872) IV. 205   Leste in his elde he schulde falle into children [L. juvenum] hond.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 5549   Þar childer [Trin. Cambr. childre] liues.
?a1425   Constit. Masonry (Royal 17 A.i) l. 8 in J. O. Halliwell Early Hist. Freemasonry in Eng. (1844) 12   For these chyldryn sake.
c1425   Evangelie (Bodl. Add.) l. 813 in Publ. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer. (1915) 30 587   Deed were alle þe childirs fone.
1495   Trevisa's Bartholomeus De Proprietatibus Rerum (de Worde) vii. x. sig. oviii/1   Also it [sc. epilepsy] hyght childrens euyl [a1398 BL Add. children yuel].
a1500  (a1450)    Tournam. of Tottenham (Cambr.) (1866) l. 154   It was no childer gamme.
1552   Bk. Common Prayer (STC 16279) Matrymonye sig. P.viii   Theyr chyldrens [1549 childers] children.
1578   Gude & Godlie Ballates (1868) 114   Thy childeris children thow sall se.
1606   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. (new ed.) ii. iii. 118   What Childre-spell? what May-game have we here?
1611   Bible (King James) Matt. xv. 26   The childrens bread [1750 children's].
a1704   J. Gother Sincere Christian's Guide (1734) 56   They deceive themselves, and..play seriously at Childrens Game.
a1774   R. Fergusson Poems (1785) 187   Our cottar childer's..Toil for pease-clods an' gude lang kail.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas I. ii. viii. 296   I was sent on the boards in children's parts.
1887   H. Caine Son of Hagar III. xvii. 308   There'll be my childer, and my childer's childer.
1987   Canad. Heritage (Ottawa, Ont.) Aug. 17/2   If your kids travel with you, they'll often be your entree to meeting local childrens' [sic] parents.
2005   Independent on Sunday 30 Oct. (ABC section) 28/2   Rapid scene changes in children's programmes account for their dwindling attention spans.
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Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with Gothic kilþei   womb, inkilþō   pregnant woman, probably < the same Indo-European base as (with a different root extension) Gothic kalbo  calf n.1   and classical Latin glēba  glebe n.   Perhaps compare also Sanskrit jaṭhara belly, womb, although its origin is uncertain and disputed.
Germanic context.
 
This word has no further secure cognates in the Germanic languages, and suggestions that it may be related to various words in the Scandinavian languages (e.g. Old Icelandic kollr   rounded tip, bald head (see coll v.2) and Old Swedish kulder  , kolder   (Swedish kull  ), Old Danish kuldær  , koldær  , plural (Danish kuld  ), all in sense ‘offspring of the same parents’) are disputed. There is no connection with Old Frisian kind   ( < Old Saxon or Middle High German), Old Dutch kint   (Middle Dutch kint  , Dutch kind  ), Old Saxon kind   (Middle Low German kint  , probably < Middle High German), Old High German kind   (Middle High German kint  , German Kind  ), ultimately a participial formation (compare -th suffix1) < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin gent-  , gens  gens n.  
 
Form history: (i) inflection and pluralization.
 
In Old English usually a strong neuter, frequently with unchanged nominative and accusative plural cild   (with regular inflection as an a  -stem; compare Forms 2aα, 2bα). These forms are rare already in early Middle English. A strong masculine accusative plural cildas  , cildes   is occasionally attested in later Northumbrian (compare Forms 2aβ), as is also an isolated weak genitive plural cildena   (see Forms 2bβ). Forms with plurals in -s   occur rarely in Middle English and modern English (compare Forms 2aβ), although compare chields  , plural of the northern and Scots variant chield n.  
 
In Old English strong plural stem forms with final -r   of the type characteristic of the former Indo-European neuter es  -, os  -stem declension are also found (see Forms 2aγ). A rare form cilderu   is already attested in early West Saxon, suggesting that such r  -plurals may have been originally inherited. In later Old English, r  -plural forms become increasingly frequent, especially the strong neuter plural forms cildru  , cildra  , and genitive plural cildra   (see Forms 2bγ); the latter is also occasionally attested in later Anglian sources. Their spread is perhaps due to analogy with the nouns that preserve inherited r  -plurals more fully in Old English such as lamb n.1, calf n.1   (which coincidentally also denote the young of their respective species). Forms with r  -plural (without -en  ) represent the usual Middle English plural forms in the north and north midlands, and survive into modern Scots and regional English ( Surv. Eng. Dial. records such forms from many parts of England, but predominantly from the north and north midlands). Similar forms in some early compounds probably chiefly reflect the genitive plural cildra   (see Forms 2bγ); compare Childermas n., childer spell n., and also γ. forms at child's game n., β. forms at child's part n.  
 
In early Middle English, the r  -plurals (see Forms 2aγ) are affected by the spread of the (originally weak) plural -en   in southern English (see -en suffix3), yielding the double plural children   (see Forms 2aδ), which becomes the usual form in southern dialects of Middle English and in modern standard English (compare likewise the development of brethren  , plural of brother n.). The rare Middle English double plural childres   (see Forms 2aε) reflects a parallel assimilation of the r  -plurals to the strong masculine inflection; such forms are continued sporadically in modern regional varieties. The powerful influence of s  -plurals in more recent times is shown by the development of the triple plural childrens   (see Forms 2aζ) in U.S. regional English.
 
Form history: (ii) variation in stem vowel.
 
The stem vowel is subject to lengthening before the homorganic consonant group ld   in late Old English, but this lengthening does not occur before ldr   as found in the r  -plurals. This leads to the alternation in Middle English of forms with long ī   in the singular and short ĭ   in the plural, and eventually, after the Great Vowel Shift, to the contrast between singular /tʃʌɪld/ and plural /ˈtʃɪldrən/ in modern standard English. Occasional forms with apparently unlengthened short ĭ   in the singular, as e.g. recorded by the 16th-cent. orthoepists Smith and Hart (see E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500–1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §12), may show the influence of the stem vowel of the plural.
 
The modern English regional (south-western) form chield   /tʃiːld/ (and variants: see Forms 1β) derives from a form in which the lengthening of the stem vowel before ld   took place later, after the general lowering of short vowels had realigned /ɪ/ ( < /i/) as the short equivalent of // (see further discussion at chield n., a northern and Scots variant showing the same development). Surv. Eng. Dial. records pronunciations indicative of these forms from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset.
 
A British pronunciation, neither regional nor nonstandard, with /ʊ/ in the first syllable, is reported (as the ‘present form’) by H. Sweet Hist. Eng. Sounds (1888) 74; he says that ‘the i   has been gutturalized and labialized into u   by the l  ’. This pronunciation is also given (alongside a variant with syllabic l   in the first syllable) as a variant in all editions of D. Jones Eng. Pronouncing Dict. up to the 14th (1987), but not in the 15th (1997); it is also given in the Longman Pronunciation Dict. (1990).
 
Development of specific senses.
 
With the occasional early contextual use in senses 1a   and 2a   with reference specifically to male infants and children compare the development of senses 2b, 2c, 3, and 4b. In biblical use in sense 2b   after the post-classical Latin (Vulgate) use of classical Latin puer boy (see puerile adj.), translating Hebrew yĕleḏ boy, adolescent, son, also (less frequently) child of either sex. In early use in sense 4   frequently with reference to young monks and oblates, who attended the monastery school and also acted as choristers (compare quot. c1175 at sense 4a).
 
In sense 8   after Xhosa abantwana and its cognate Zulu abantwana (< aba-   plural class prefix + -ntwana   child, someone who is younger by comparison with others).
 
In senses 11   and 14a   directly or ultimately rendering Hebrew bēn son (plural (construct state) bĕnē  ) followed by a noun, e.g. in bĕnē Yiśrāēl   ‘sons of Israel’, frequently as first element in compounds which denote a person who has a specific quality, the second element of the compound being an abstract noun; compare son n.1 5a, 6a.
 
With sense 16   compare childbirth n., childbearing n., child v.  
 
Use in names.
 
The word occurs as a male personal name in Old English both as a simplex (Cild  ) and as the second element in compound names (e.g. Lēofcild  ). It also occurs in Old English as a byname of male persons of different rank; as such its precise significance is unclear and it may be that more than one sense is represented (compare especially sense 3   and discussion at that sense). Compare also Middle English use as a surname, e.g. Robert Child   (1202), Roger le Child   (1204), Mabel le Child   (1346), etc.
 
The word also occurs early as an element in place names, apparently sometimes in the plural and probably in more than one sense. It has been suggested that the first element in Cildecote  , Leicestershire (1086; now Chilcote), Cildecote  , Northamptonshire (1086; now Chilcote) shows the sense ‘retainers’, implying earlier currency of sense 6, although other interpretations such as ‘sons, heirs’ (compare sense 9a) or ‘young men’ (compare senses 2a, 3) are also possible. Occasional examples from former Danelaw counties show that in these areas the initial affricate // was sometimes replaced by the plosive /k/; compare Childeuuic, West Riding, Yorkshire (1086; 1135–40 as Kyldewike, 1293 as Kilderwyk; now Kildwick), and also the byname (or title) of Ulfcetel Kild (c1275 in a copy of a mid 11th-cent. will). See further Vocab. Eng. Place-names at cild.
 I. With reference to state or age.
 1.

 a. An unborn or newly born human being; a fetus, an infant.In early use occasionally contextually: a male infant (cf. quot. OE1).The primary sense appears to have been ‘fetus’. When further senses developed, this was often expressed by babe, baby, infant, but child is retained in phrases such as ‘to have a child’; see also with child at Phrases 1, childbirth n., child v., etc.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) vi. 225   Ealle hi ymbsnidon heora cild on þam eahteoðan dæge & him naman gesceopon.
OE   Metrical Charm: For Delayed Birth (Harl. 585) 1   Se wifman, se hire cild afedan ne mæg, gange to gewitenes mannes birgenne and stæppe þonne þriwa ofer þa byrgenne.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Luke (Corpus Cambr.) i. 44   Þa fahnude min cild [c1200 Hatton min chyld; L. infans] on minum innoþe.
OE   Wulfstan Canons of Edgar (Corpus Cambr.) (1972) xv. 4   Ælc cild sy gefullod binnon xxxvii nihtum.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 16297   Þe child i moderr wambe.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Luke ii. 16   A ȝong child put in a cracche [1526 Tyndale babe layde in a manger].
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Luke i. 41   The ȝonge child [1526 Tyndale babe] in hir wombe gladide.
a1464   J. Capgrave Abbreuiacion of Cron. (Cambr. Gg.4.12) (1983) 162   In þe same ȝere þe qween had childe at Gaunt.
?a1500   Nominale (Yale Beinecke 594) in T. Wright & R. P. Wülcker Anglo-Saxon & Old Eng. Vocab. (1884) I. 751/2   Hec matrix, a schyn that a schyld ys consevyd in.
1571   in W. Cramond Rec. Elgin (1903) I. 127   Thow ceist ane barrall of makis furth of the weym; thow castis bot kitlyngis and nocht childeryng.
1611   Bible (King James) Lev. xii. 5   If she beare a maid child .  
1652   N. Culpeper Eng. Physitian Enlarged 35   It expelleth the dead childe and the after-birth.
a1715   Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 174   She had once miscarried of a child.
1788   J. J. Powell Ess. Learning Devises (1827) II. 325   A child en ventre..is considered as a child in esse, and is entitled under all the circumstances, in which a child then born would be entitled.
1800   Wordsworth Michael 158   A child..Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts.
1885   ‘H. Conway’ Family Affair I. i. 3   A child still young enough to be passed off as a child in arms.
1913   ‘Sepharial’ Kabala of Numbers II. xii. 189   Suppose..that a child is born when the influence of Venus is predominant.
1967   E. S. Gardner Case of Queenly Contestant (1973) viii. 103   I would keep on working as long as I was able. Then I would go to a home for unwed mothers and have my child.
2011   New Yorker 31 Oct. 36/1   His wife..is expecting their first child.

OE—2011(Hide quotations)

 

 b. spec. A female infant, a baby girl. Now chiefly English regional (south-western) and Irish English.Formerly more widespread in English regional use in western varieties as far north as Lancashire; now apparently restricted to the south-west.

a1616   Shakespeare Winter's Tale (1623) iii. iii. 69   A very pretty barne; A boy, or a Childe I wonder?  
1755   Johnson Dict. Eng. Lang.   Child,..4. A girl child.
1775   J. Ash New Dict. Eng. Lang.   Child, an infant—a son or daughter..a female infant.
c1780   MS Gloss. Devonshire in J. O. Halliwell Dict. Archaic & Provinc. Words (1847)    Child, a female infant.
1876   Notes & Queries 22 Apr.   A country woman [in Shropshire] said to me, apropos of a baby, ‘Is it a lad or a child?’
1888   F. T. Elworthy W. Somerset Word-bk.   Chiel, a female infant... Well, what is it thee-as time, a chiel or a bwoy?
1934   W. W. Gill Manx Dial. II. 32   Is it a boy or a child?
1950   I. Waters Chepstow Talk 11   So Mrs. Smith's got a new baby... Is it a boy or a child?
1979   N. Rogers Wessex Dial. 75/1   Child, still used in its old sense of ‘girl’, and pronounced cheel.
1995   P. O'Keeffe Down Cobbled Streets 15   ‘What is it?’ I said as I turned to follow her. ‘A child,’ she said, ‘another little girl, God bless and preserve her.’

a1616—1995(Hide quotations)

 
 2.

 a. A young person of either sex, usually one below the age of puberty; a boy or girl.In early use occasionally contextually: a boy (cf. quot. OE1).

eOE   Bald's Leechbk. (Royal) (1865) ii. xxvii. 222   Him hylpð..þæt him fæt cild æt slape, & þæt he þæt gedo neah his wambe simle.
OE   Ælfric's Colloquy (1991) 47   Uinum non est potus puerorum siue stultorum, sed senum et sapientium : win nys drenc cilda ne dysgra ac ealdra & wisra.
OE   Ælfric Homily (Cambr. Ii.4.6) in J. C. Pope Homilies of Ælfric (1967) I. 344   Se witega cwæð be him þæt heora weorc wæron..gelice..þæra cildra sceotungum þe sceotiað mid reodum on heore geonglicum plegan on heora plegstowe.
?a1160   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1137   Þe Iudeus of Noruuic bohton an Cristen cild beforen Estren & pineden him alle þe ilce pining ðat ure Drihten was pined.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 7 (MED)   Þa children ploȝeden in þere strete.
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 310   Ancre ne schal naut..turnen ancre hus to childre [Scribe B childrene] scole.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1869) II. 161   In alle þe gramere scoles of Engelond children leueþ Frensche..and lerneþ an Englische.
c1410  (c1390)    Chaucer Prioress's Tale (Harl. 7334) (1885) l. 1691   To synge and to rede As smale childer doon.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Matthias l. 73 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 224   Þane tuk scho þe chyld priwely & gert fosterit tendyrly.
a1547   Earl of Surrey tr. Virgil Certain Bks. Aenæis (1557) ii. sig. Biv   Children, and maides, that holly carolles sang.
1583   P. Stubbes Second Pt. Anat. Abuses sig. F2v   A squirt, or a squibbe, which little children vsed to squirt out water withall.
1671   Milton Paradise Regain'd i. 201   When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing.  
1747   G. Berkeley Tar-water in Plague in Wks. (1871) III. 484   Two children, a boy and a girl.
1797   R. Tyler Algerine Captive I. vii. 70   Small children, sent to school, not to learn, but to keep them out of ‘harm's way’.
1835   A. Ure Philos. Manuf. 303   A desire to lessen the labour of young children.
1884   E. Whitaker Tip Cat xix. 262   The child was tossing and turning and talking in her sleep.
1937   A. Wynn in J. F. Dobie & M. C. Boatright Straight Texas 231   Among the games played by the children and adolescents were fox-and-the-goose, mumble-peg, jacks, [etc.].
1964   C. Isherwood Single Man 11   The nursery jingle his Nanny taught him when he was a child in England, all those years ago.
2011   Independent 20 Aug. 30/2   As a child, I also recall working in the potato fields.

eOE—2011(Hide quotations)

 

b. A young man; a youth, an adolescent. Obsolete (rare after 16th cent. except in biblical use). Cf. The Song of the Three (Holy) Children at Phrases 4.In plural occasionally: young persons of either sex (cf. quots. c1330, c1626).

c1225  (?c1200)    St. Juliana (Bodl.) l. 285 (MED)   Þreo children þe chearre nalden from þe lahen..Ananie & Azarie & Misahel inempnet.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 130   Þa þis child was feir muche þa luuede he a maide.
c1300   St. Thomas Becket (Laud) l. 217 in C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 113   Þo þis child was bet in elde and of to and twenti ȝer.
c1330   Horn Child l. 310 in J. Hall King Horn (1901) 182 (MED)   Loued neuer childer mare, Bot tristrem or ysoud it ware.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1959) Gen. xxxvii. 30   Ruben torned aȝeyn to þe systern: fond not þe chylde [i.e. Joseph aged 17; L. puerum].
c1405  (c1390)    Chaucer Miller's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 139   A murye child he was..Wel koude he laten blood and clippe and shaue.
a1425  (?a1400)    Chaucer Romaunt Rose (Hunterian) (1891) l. 1522   Well wende he [sc. Narcissus] the forme see Of a child of gret beaute.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Martha l. 128 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 288   Rayse this chyld [= a ȝunge mane], þat al ma se!
a1500   Disciplina Clericalis in Western Reserve Univ. Bull. (1919) 22 37 (MED)   This yong man with greate labour of his body lived..This chield had a neighburgh [etc.].
1563   N. Winȝet Certain Tractates (1888) I. 101   Quhy admit ȝe to be ȝour precheouris..ȝoung childring of na eruditioun.
1611   Bible (King James) Dan. i. 17   As for these foure children [Heb. yĕlāḏīm], God gaue them knowledge and skil.  
c1626   H. Bisset Rolment Courtis (1922) II. 323   This Clement..ordaned bischopin of childring..ony time eftir thair pupularie or maioritie.
1762   G. Sharpe 2nd Argument Def. Christianity 34   In our translation it is said..of the young men of Bethel that they were children.

c1225—1762(Hide quotations)

 

 c. More generally: any man without reference to age; a lad, fellow, chap. Frequently used contemptuously or affectionately. Cf. chield n. 2. Now Scottish regional.

1551   R. Robinson tr. T. More Vtopia sig. Oii   The false & malicious circumuertions of craftie chyldren.
1575   J. Awdely Fraternitye of Vacabondes (new ed.) sig. A3v   A Curtesy man..This child can behaue him selfe manerly.
1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1895) II. 373   Al maist was na nuik, na hole, in Scotland, or ony place meit quhair sik childre [sc. factious men] mycht meit, quhair commounlie thai mett not.
a1605   R. Bannatyne Memorials Trans. Scotl. (1836) 11   Lat thea childer want the heidis, which sall make yow quite of thair cummer.
1638   Earl of Strafford Let. 28 July (1739) II. 187   They [sc. the Scots] are shrewd Children, not won much by Courtship.
1732   J. Hutchinson Treat. Power 147   What a forward Child he was, who in a Year and a half, formed this mighty Work.
1934   ‘L. G. Gibbon’ Grey Granite ii. 113   She'll be able to sin as she likes and go free, with no need to marry the gallus childe.
1986   C. Mackay Song of Forest 67   Now the master must have been a right brave childe, and he didna take kindly at all to Death walking round scaring folk.

1551—1986(Hide quotations)

 

3. A young man of noble or gentle birth. Frequently as a title (either preceding or (in early use) following a proper name), in ballads, etc. Obsolete (archaic in later use).When used by modern writers, commonly distinguished by the archaic spellings chylde or childe.In Old English, use as a title is difficult to distinguish from use as a byname in other senses of the word. Its significance when used as title is uncertain, although the sense ‘young man of noble birth’ has been assumed at least in some cases (see G. Tengvik Old Eng. Bynames (1938) 245). In quot. OE3   the title is perhaps equivalent to atheling n.In the 14th and 15th centuries the word appears to have been applied to a young noble in line for knighthood, e.g. in the romances of Ipomedon, Sir Triamour, Sir Torrent of Portyngale, etc.

OE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Tiber. B.i) anno 1009   Brihtric Eadrices broðor ealdormannes forwregde Wulfnoð cild [L. (Domitian A.viii) quendam nobilem [u]irum nomine Wlnoðum] to þam cyninge.
OE   Marriage Agreement between Godwine & Brihtric (Sawyer 1461) in A. J. Robertson Anglo-Saxon Charters (1956) 150   Ælfsige cild, & Eadmer æt Burham, & Godwine Wulfstanes sunu.
OE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Tiber. B.iv) anno 1075   Eadgar cild com of Fleminga lande into Scotlande.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 6484   Wulc an of þissen children heo mihten habben to kinge.
c1300  (?c1225)    King Horn (Laud) (1901) l. 119 (MED)   Ofte hauede horn child be wo, Bute neuere werse þan þo.
c1330  (?c1300)    Amis & Amiloun (Auch.) (1937) l. 134 (MED)   Hende childer..Child Amiloun & child Amis.
a1375   William of Palerne (1867) l. 1822   Oþer cherl oþer child.
c1410   tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1879) VII. 123   To whom he ordeyned child Gilbert [L. Gylbertem comitem] to be tutour.
a1450   York Plays (1885) 276 (MED)   Be he churle or childe.
c1485  (▸1456)    G. Hay Bk. Knychthede (1993) iv. 27   Quhen a childe is maid knycht he thinkis nocht on the poyntis of the ordre yat he sueris to kepe.
a1500  (?c1400)    Sir Triamour (Cambr.) (1937) l. 741   And Tryamowre rode hym ageyn, Thogh he were mekyll man of mayne, The chylde broght hym downe!
c1540   J. Bellenden tr. Livy Hist. Rome (1901) I. ii. vi. 149   Than was in rome ane nobill childe..namyt Caius Mutius.
1553   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Eneados vi. v. 55   Anchyses get, heynd childe [v.r. heynd, kynd] curtes and gude.
1596   Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene vi. ii. sig. Aa7v   Chyld Tristram prayd, that he with him might goe.  
1608   Shakespeare King Lear xi. 168   Child Rowland, to the darke towne come.  
?a1700   Child of Ell ii, in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads (1882) I. i. vii. 103/2   Till he haue slaine the Child of Ell.
1765   T. Percy Reliques (1823) III. 315   Child is frequently used by our old writers, as a title. It is repeatedly given to Prince Arthur in the Faerie Queen.
1812   Byron Childe Harold: Cantos I & II i. iv. 5   Worse than adversity the Childe befell.
a1839   W. M. Praed Poems (1864) I. 267   The pious Childe began to sing.
1883   H. Pyle Merry Adventures Robin Hood ii. iii. 70   Among them all, both great and small, A good stout knight was there, A lusty childe, and eke a tall, That loved a lady fair.

OE—1883(Hide quotations)

 
 4.

a. A pupil at a school, esp. a charity school. Obsolete.

OE   Antwerp-London Gloss. (2011) 104   Pedagogus, cilda hyrde uel lareow.
OE   Monasteriales Indicia (1996) v. 22   Ðæs magistres taccen is þe þa cild bewat, þæt man set his twegen fingras on his twa eagan.
c1175  (?OE)    Writ of Brother Edwin (Sawyer 1428) in S. Miller Charters of New Minster, Winchester (2001) 164   Ic Eadwine munuk cilda mæstere an Niwan mynstre grete þe wel Ælfsige biscop.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1872) IV. 205   Þat litel book of metre..þat children lerneþ in scole.
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 5881   Maysters som tyme uses þe wand Þat has childir to lere under þair hand.
1518   J. Colet Stat. Paulinae Scholae in J. H. Lupton Life Colet (1887) 276   All the Children in the scole knelyng in theyr Settes.
1556   in J. G. Nichols Chron. Grey Friars (1852) 76   Alle the men chylderne wyth the women chylderne..that perteynyd unto the howse of the powre [sc. Christ's Hospital].
c1600   Wriothesley's Chron. Eng. (1877) II. 80   Betwene euery xx children [of Christ's Hospital] [there was] one woman keeper.
1655   T. Fuller Church-hist. Brit. x. 65   Charter-house-Hospitall..Children not yet come to, and Old men already past helping of themselves, have in this Hospitall their souls and bodies provided for.
1706   T. Hearne Remarks & Coll. (1885) I. 216   [They] were all poor Children, Taberders and afterwards Fellows of Queen's College.
1720   J. Strype Stow's Surv. of London (rev. ed.) I. i. xxv. 166/1   If any Child admitted here, go to any other School to learn there, such Child for no Man's Suit be again received into the School.
1810   Minute-bk. of Mill Hill School   Regul. for Dom. Superint... His attention shall be directed to the Morals and Conduct of the Boys..before and after School hours. He shall not suffer the children to pass beyond the Bounds prescribed, etc.

OE—1810(Hide quotations)

 

 b. spec. A boy chorister.The name is still retained at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace.

OE   Regularis Concordia (Corpus Cambr.) in Archiv f. das Studium der Neueren Sprachen (1890) 84 4   Æfter þysum þa[m] cildon [L. pueris] þisne antifen beginnendum, Pueri Hebreorum, syn þa palmtwiga todælede.
OE   Regularis Concordia (Tiber.) (1993) xxxvii. 76   Demum pueri dexteriores [read dexterioris] chori repetant quę supra, eodem modo : þænne nehst cild swiþran chores edlæcean þa ufran þam sylfan gemete.
c1405  (c1390)    Chaucer Prioress's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 67   He Alma redemptoris herde synge As children lerned hir Antiphoner.
1492   in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 74   Item euery chylde wt a surplyce j d.
?a1527   in Regulations & Establishm. Househ. Earl of Northumberland (1905) 40   Gentyllmen and Childryn of the Chapell.
1534   in J. L. Glasscock Rec. St. Michael's, Bishop's Stortford (1882) 41   New surplecs for the childern.
1566   G. Turberville Poems (title of poem)    Epitaph on Maister Edwards, sometime Maister of the Children of the Chappell.
1603   H. Chettle Englands Mourning Garment (new ed.) sig. F   Children of the Chappell in surplesses.
1685   Form of Proceeding Coronation James II (single sheet)    The Children of the Chapel, Four a-Breast.
a1717   in E. F. Rimbault Old Cheque-bk. Chapel Royal (1872) 28   Dr. William Croft (as Master of the Children).
1786   T. Busby Compl. Dict. Music at Master of Song   To teach the children of the chapel-royal to sing, and to perform the organ.
1887   Daily Tel. 8 Apr.   Mr. C. S. Jekyll, organist and composer to her Majesty's Chapel Royal, and musical instructor of the children.
1982   G. R. Elton et al. Tudor Rule & Revol. 50   He was probably the father of the more famous William Cornysh junior, master of the children in the Chapel Royal during the earlier years of Henry VIII's reign.
2004   Times (Nexis) 3 Apr. 31   The choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal is composed of six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary and ten children of the Chapel.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 5.

 a. A person who has (or is considered to have) the character, manners, or attainments of a child, usually with negative connotations; an immature, irresponsible, or childish person.

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) lxiii. 459   Forðæm ge sint giet cilderu [L. tamquam parvulis] on eowrum geleafan, ðy ic sceal sellan eow giet mioloc drincan, nalles flæsc etan.
OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) xxxiv. 471   Ne beo ge cild on andgite, ac on yfelnyssum, beoð on andgite fullfremede.
a1225  (?c1175)    Poema Morale (Lamb.) 3 in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 159 (MED)   Wel longe ich habbe child ibon a worde and a dede.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) 1 Cor. xiv. 20   Britheren, nyle ȝe be maad children [L. pueri] in wittis.
?1435   in C. L. Kingsford Chrons. London (1905) 44 (MED)   Childeryn that have lordship in the Rewme.
1526   Tyndale 1 Cor. xiv. 20   Brethren be not chyldren in witte.
a1533   Ld. Berners tr. A. de Guevara Golden Bk. M. Aurelius (1537) f. 24   He was a childe amonge children.
1615   F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Cupids Revenge ii. sig. D3v   We men are children in our Carriages, compard with women.
1678   Dryden All for Love iv. 46   Men are but Children of a larger growth.
1771   Hibernian Mag. Oct. 523/1   ‘You are a child,’ said Blandford to her; ‘you ought to have told me all’.
1850   Tennyson Princess (ed. 3) ii. 29   Your language proves you still the child.
1857   H. T. Buckle Hist. Civilisation Eng. I. ix. 576   The French, always treated as children, are, in political matters, children still.
1914   Smart Set Nov. 135/2   Arnold, like most men, was a child when it came to sympathy.
1963   Times 4 Mar. 11/4   I am a child in these matters, but I cannot but observe that since the collapse of the negotiations (Brussels) my modest portfolio..has increased in value.
2006   P. A. Ross Spell Cast by Remains i. 34   He is a child in matters of the flesh but a master in controlling the ring.

eOE—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. As a form of address, used either contemptuously or affectionately.

OE   West Saxon Gospels: Mark (Corpus Cambr.) x. 24   Ða forhtodon his leorningcnihtas be his wordum; eft se Hælend him andswariende cwæð, eala, cild [L. filioli], swyðe earfoðlice þa ðe on heora feo getruwigeað gað on godes rice.
lOE   St. Nicholas (Corpus Cambr.) (1997) 88   Se bisceop cwæð þa to him: Cum nu, leofa cild, hider mid me, forþon þe ic hæbbe sum þing digeles wið þe to specone.
 
1594  (a1555)    D. Lindsay Hist. Squyer Meldrum l. 297 in Wks. (1931) I. 154   Maister Talbart said: My gude chyld, It wer maist lyk that thow wer wyld. Thow ar to ȝoung, and hes no micht To fecht with me.
1600   Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iii. ii. 410   Come recreant, come thou childe, Ile whippe thee with a rodde.  
1677   A. Behn Rover v. 80   We'l have no Vows but Love, Child, nor witness but the Lover.
1751   H. Walpole Lett. (1846) II. 397   Lady Stafford used to say to her sister, ‘Well, child, I have come without my wit to-day;’ that is, she had not taken her opium.
1774   Dialogue between Southern Delegate & Spouse 7   Good Lord! how magnanimous! I fear Child thou'rt drunk.
1850   Tennyson In Memoriam vi. 7   Poor child, that waitest for thy love!  
1850   Tennyson In Memoriam lxvii. 94   They call'd me fool, they call'd me child .  
1950   D. Cusack Morning Sacrifice in 3 Austral. Three-act Plays ii. ii. 232   Child, are you so blind to responsibilities?
2001   K. Roberts July 328   ‘Come, child, let's go to my place and have a cup of tea’.

OE—2001(Hide quotations)

 

 6. A young person (in early use esp. a boy or young man) in service; an attendant; a page. Cf. child-woman n. at Compounds 1b. Now only in historical contexts.

c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Deeds iv. 25   By the mouth of oure fadir Dauith, thi child.
c1440  (?a1400)    Morte Arthure l. 2952 (MED)   On Chastelayne, a childe of þe kynges chambyre, Was warde to sir Wawayn.
c1475   in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (Harl. 642) (1790) 39 (MED)   No man shall drawe in any office in this courte any chylde or servaunt, but he be come of clene byrthe.
1478   Will of Ralph Verney in J. Bruce Verney Papers (1853) 28   I bequethe to John Jakke, child of my kichen, xs.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 1 Sam. ix. 10   Saul sayde vnto his childe: Thou hast well spoken.
1555   Will in A. R. Maddison Lincs. Wills, 1500–1600 (1888) 46   To Henry Scott ‘sometyme my childe iijs. iiijd.’
1610   Househ. Prince Hen. in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (1790) 336   Noe childe, page, scowrer, or turnebroach, to marry.
1707   J. Chamberlayne Angliæ Notitia (ed. 22) 539   (The Queens Officers and Servants) Scullery..Yeoman..Joint Grooms..Page..Servant..Child.
1757   Court & City Reg. 101/2   Master Cook, Joseph Harpe Reynold, 80 l. Yeoman, Charles Brexton, 50 l. Groom, Mr Weston, 40 l. Children, Rob. Brattle.
1798   J. Archer Inaugural Diss. Cynanche Trachealis ii. 43   I saw the servant child of Mr. S— L—. She had been, for two days, observed to have a wheezing, difficult respiration.
1858   M. F. Tupper Stephan Langton II. x. 88   Two nameless stable-boys and a female scullery-child, who made themselves generally useful about the Braiose establishment.
1983   M. O'Donoghue Jedder's Land 355   ‘No-one else has a cheel like her.’ Emma was wailing. ‘All we want is a nice lil' maid’.

c1384—1983(Hide quotations)

 

7. Scottish. Nautical. In plural. Low-ranking members of a ship's crew. Obsolete.

1445   in J. Stuart Extracts Council Reg. Aberdeen (1844) I. 13   Twa of the ballieis..hes resauit in to saafgarde..Roger Yhong, Inglisman, and his childer.
1548   in A. I. Cameron Sc. Corr. Mary of Lorraine (1927) 267   I am appunctit with the master of the saidis schip and childer, that..I sall have.., for the bottisman and his met thre pond stirling.
1565   in J. H. Burton Reg. Privy Council Scotl. (1877) 1st Ser. I. 333   That Scottis skipparis and thair childir sall obey to the Conservatour.
c1600   in J. Balfour Practicks (1754) 615   Quhen ane master is readie with his ship to depart … , and thair is sum of his childer auchtand silver in the town or countrey quhair thay ar [etc.].

1445—c1600(Hide quotations)

 

 8. South African. In plural. Also with capital initials. Young, black, left-wing political activists during the anti-apartheid struggle of the 1970s and 1980s. Cf. comrade n. Additions. Now hist.

1978   Time 26 June 21   ‘The Children’, as they had come to be called, decreed a two-day general strike..so that Sowetans could gather in churches to honor the dead with hymns extolling black power.
1980   E. Joubert Poppie Nongena 314   The children didn't stop with burning down schools and administration buildings and beer halls. They got bolder. The older ones called themselves the Comrades and told the adults: Your time is past: When we speak, you must listen.
1987   Learn & Teach No. 5. 15   In my day the bosses and their friends were stronger than us... The children today are strong. They are making history like we did.
2005   G. Kynoch We are Fighting World 150   It would happen that when I quarrel with my wife and beat her she would go to the street committee, who would call the children, who would beat me.

1978—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 II. As correlative to parent.
 9.

 a. A son or daughter (at any age); the offspring of human parents. Also as a form of address.In Old English bearn bairn n.   is more common in this sense.Traditionally used more frequently (and longer) of a girl than a boy (Shakespeare nowhere uses ‘my child’ of or to a son, but frequently of or to a daughter). This is possibly connected with the use in 1b   (compare also quots. 1541   and a1592), but is perhaps more due to the facts that girl has a wider range of application than boy, and that daughters were formerly more dependent on parental protection.

eOE   King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) l. 391   We eac wiernað urum cildum urra peninga mid to plegianne, ðæm ilcum ðe we eft tiochiað..ure ierfe eall ætsomne to te forlætanne.
OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) v. 218   Rachel beweop hire cildru, & nolde beon gefrefrod.
OE   Royal Charter: William I to Bp. William, Gosfrith the Portreeve, & Burghers of London in D. Bates Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum (1998) 593   Ic wylle þæt ælc cyld beo his fæder yrfnume æfter his fæder dæge.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 49   Þet beoð riche men alremest..þe habbeð feire huses, and feire hames, feire wifes, and feire children.
a1325  (c1250)    Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 715   Fader and breðere and childre and wif.
a1450  (c1386)    Chaucer Legend Good Women (Tanner) (1879) l. 901   Ye wrecched Ielouse fadres oure we that weren whilom children youre we preyen you [etc.].
?a1475   Ludus Coventriae (1922) 74   So mylde, So xulde childyr to fadyr and modyr.
1482   W. Cely Let. 20 Aug. in Cely Lett. (1975) 170   Wyffe, chyldern and goodes.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) Coloss. iii. 20   Children [c1384 Wycliffite, E.V. Sones] obey youre fathers and mothers in all thinges.
1541   Coverdale tr. H. Bullinger Olde Fayth sig. D.viiiv   There can also none be a father, except he haue a sonne or a chylde.
c1550   Complaynt Scotl. (1979) Prol. 7   Ane ordinance til excerse his propir childir.
a1592   R. Greene Sc. Hist. Iames IV (1598) v. sig. I3v   Hob your sonne, and Sib your nutbrowne childe, Are Gentle folkes.
1608   Shakespeare King Lear xxi. 67   I thinke this Ladie To be my child Cordelia.  
1664   J. Wilson Cheats v. v. 79   O my Child, my Child—Thy father is prettie hoddie again, but this will break his heart quite.
1699   J. Potter Archæologiæ Græcæ II. iv. xv. 378   Parents were allow'd to be reconcil'd to their Children, but after that could never abdicate them again.
1700   T. Brown Amusem. Serious & Comical x. 124   Many Citizens Wives, had hard Hearts, Undutiful Husbands, and Disobedient Children.
1797   Encycl. Brit. XII. 796 (note)    The children of a white and quinteroon consider themselves as free from all taint of the negro race.
1822   Sat. Evening Post (Philadelphia) 26 Jan. 1/3   ‘My child,’ said Dorothy..‘Here comes a soldier down the hill!’ The word revived Ellen: she flew to her mother's side.
1841   R. W. Emerson Self-reliance in Ess. 1st Ser. (London ed.) 67   Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being?
1881   M. E. Herbert Edith 6   Indifferent to everything but his child's beauty and vocal talents.
1925   Woman's World (Chicago) Apr. 55/3 (advt.)    It's hard to picture your child of seven at the age of seventy.
1982   R. Sheppard & M. Valpy National Deal vii. 157   The only way assimilated francophones outside Quebec could be guaranteed their child's education in French.
2011   N.Y. Mag. 28 Nov. 18/1   Just another spoiled, aimless child of rich, successful parents chauffeured through adulthood by Mommy and Daddy's connections.

eOE—2011(Hide quotations)

 

 b. The young of an animal. Now rare.

1340   Ayenbite (1866) 224 (MED)   Þe elifans nele naȝt wonye mid his wyue þerhuyle þet hi is mid childe.
c1450   MS Douce 52 in Festschrift zum XII. Neuphilologentage (1906) 54 (MED)   Childe is pigge, and fader is the flicche.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene i. vi. sig. F3   A Lyonesse.., did lowd requere Her children deare.
1697   Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iv, in tr. Virgil Wks. 145   Her Children gone, The Mother Nightingale laments.  
1757   London Mag. Jan. 30/1   It [sc. the cuckoo] puts its child to nurse, only because it is not so formed by nature as to be able to nurse it itself.
1837   J. C. Maitland Let. 31 Oct. in Lett. from Madras (1846) xiii. 58   I was told that ‘a cat had run away with a child.’ I was horror-struck..but..I found the child was nothing but a young pigeon.
1900   R. Kipling Just So Stories (1902) 63   There was one Elephant..—an Elephant's Child—who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions.
1969   K. M. Wells Owl Pen Reader ii. 206   It was their pullet's hope of chick and childer, their dream of love and spring song.

1340—1969(Hide quotations)

 

 10. Esp. in biblical use: a disciple of a teacher; a person in a similar relationship to this. Usually with possessive or of. Chiefly in plural.

OE   Ælfric 2nd Let. to Wulfstan (Corpus Cambr.) in B. Fehr Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics (1914) 176   Ic secge eow.., þæt ge sceolan læran cnapan and geonge men eow to fultume.., na eower agene cild.., ac þa ælfremedan, þæt hy eowre cild beon þurh þa gastlican lare.
c1400  (?c1384)    Wyclif Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) III. 374 (MED)   Freris..maken dissencioun bitwix curatis and hor gostly childer.
c1400  (?c1380)    Cleanness (1920) l. 1300   Þe..prophetes childer.
c1480  (a1400)    St. Machor l. 1114 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 32   My childere dere, þis demand..Is a demawnd without profit.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) 1 John ii. 1   My lytell children [Gk. τεκνία μου], these thynges write I vnto you, that ye synne not.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Kings ix. 1   Eliseus the prophet called one of the prophetes children [Heb. bĕnē hannĕḇī'īm].
1568   Bible (Bishops') John xxi. 5   Children [Gk. παιδία], haue ye any meate?
1688   Dryden tr. D. Bouhours Life St. Francis Xavier iv. 335   Prefering to be receiv'd amongst the Children of Ignatius.
1719   J. Chamberlayne tr. G. Brandt Hist. Reformation iv. 323   Some of his Children or Disciples esteem'd his Writings above those of the Holy Pen-men.
1853   F. D. Maurice Prophets & Kings Old Test. ix. 139   The phrase ‘children of the prophets’..indicates men who were taught by a prophet.
1893   Jewish Q. Rev. 5 407   Take not a strange woman that is not of thy father's tribe for a wife, for we are the children of prophets Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
1911   Irish Monthly July 397   Catherine put into execution what had been long the darling desire of her heart, by clothing herself in the habit of the children of St. Dominic.
1998   Independent (Nexis) 2 Nov.   All human beings are the children of Prophet Adam.
2006   BBC Worldwide Monitoring (Nexis) 8 Feb.   ‘The Muslims have shown themselves to be true children of their Prophet. I regret that the Orthodox are so sluggish about encroachments on their own holy places,’ the Zavtra chief editor says.

OE—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 11. In plural. Esp. in biblical and derived uses: descendants; members of the tribe or clan.  Children of Israel n. = Israel n. 1.

?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 9274   We sinndenn habrahamess streon & habrahamess chilldre.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1959) Exod. iii. 14   Þus þou schalt say to þe children of yrael [L. filiis Israhel].
c1400  (?c1380)    Cleanness (1920) l. 684 (MED)   He [sc. Abraham] is chosen to be chef chyldryn fader.
?a1475  (?a1425)    tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl. 2261) (1865) I. 121   Canaan is a region of Syria [MS Siria], possessede firste of the childre of Canaan [L. filiis Canaan].
a1525   in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1923) I. 245   About the tyme that the childer of Israell war in the desert.
1611   Bible (King James) Judges iv. 6   Ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali.  
1641   W. Hooke New Englands Teares 6   A right Edomitish quality; for Edom rejoiced over the children of Judah, etc.
1704   R. Nelson Compan. Festivals & Fasts i. ii. 26   There was to be no more Distinction betwixt the Children of Abraham and other People, and no one Land more pecularized [sic] than another.
1727   D. Defoe Syst. Magick i. iii. 72   Moses and Aaron were to assure Pharaoh that God sent them, and they were in his Name to demand Liberty for the Children of Israel.
1794   J. L. Buchanan Def. Scots Highlanders 262   To these [lands] the son of the chieftain, with the children or Clans of the vassals and lower-tenantry was sent.
1849   Macaulay Hist. Eng. II. 127   A Helot feeling, compounded of awe and hatred, is..discernible in the children of the vanquished.
1870   W. H. Dixon Free Russia lxiii. 336   The Turkish tribes are children of Mohammed, the Mongolian tribes are children of Buddha.
1929   Economica 25 99   Persecuted on all sides by Presbyterians under Cromwell, by Anglicans under Charles II, by Dissenters under the children of the Pilgrim Fathers, the Quakers ultimately won.
1988   J. L. Esposito Islam i. 4   Muslims, like Christians and Jews are the Children of Abraham.
2003   Church Times 28 Mar. 13/3   Even the childish and grumbly children of Israel instantly spotted what God was up to, but not Nicodemus.

?c1200—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

 12. A person who inherits and hands on the spiritual or moral tradition of another. Usually with possessive or of.

?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 9864   Þatt flocc iss..abrahamess chilldre Þatt follȝheþþ abrahamess sloþ. Inn alle kinne gode.
c1400  (?c1384)    Wyclif Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) III. 386   Freris also ben Scarioths childre, bitrayinge trew men..for money.
a1500  (a1400)    Wyclif Eng. Wks. (1880) 351   Þes ben cayms childire.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Acts xiii. A   O thou childe of the deuell [Gk. υἱὲ διαβόλου]..and enemye of all righteousnes.
1601   W. Perkins True Gaine 7   The papists of our time are the children of the old pharisies.
1700   W. Sherlock Serm. upon Several Occasions 6   The children of Abraham, by Faith in Christ.
1745   J. White 2nd Let. to Gentleman dissenting from Church of Eng. 30   We find, Sir,..your Ministers valuing themselves for being the Children and Followers of the old Puritans.
1802   J. Bowles Let. C. J. Fox on Death Duke Bedford Bristol Sel. Pamphlets 5   It will be understood that the political children only of Mr. Fox are left to lament the loss.
1888   Daily News 7 Sept. 5/2   The children of Izaak Walton have multiplied beyond all reckoning..and river fishing has been falling off.
1966   Ann. Amer. Acad. Polit. & Social Sci. 365 132/1   The ‘Children of Kennedy’, come of age, have now lost both of their founding fathers: Kennedy and Shriver.
2009   New Yorker 27 Apr. 69/3   ‘The children of Poe’ is what Stephen King calls the members of his guild, and with good reason. But horror stories predate Poe, and have many other sources.

?c1200—2009(Hide quotations)

 

 13. Theology. Esp. in Child of God. A person considered as belonging to God, either by creation, or by regeneration or adoption.

[OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) xix. 326   We men sind Godes bearn for þan ðe he us geworhte, & eft þa ða we forwyrhte wæron he asende his agen bearn us to alysednysse.]
a1225   MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 19   Alle men ben godes children, for þat he hem alle shop, and ches hem to sunes and to dohtres.
?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 170   Hwen god ȝef him leaue on [his] leoue children.
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 6148   Commes now til me, My fadir blissed childer fre.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection i. sig. Civ   The christen man, as the welbyloued chylde of god.
1549   Bk. Common Prayer (STC 16267) Confirmacion f. ix*v   In my Baptisme, wherein I was made a member of Christe, the childe of God.
1645   E. Pagitt Heresiogr. 33   Huttites, who boast themselves to be the only children of God, and heirs of heaven.
a1656   Bp. J. Hall Shaking of Olive-tree (1660) ii. 144   Which way should I become the child of God?
1758   J. Wesley Let. 6 Jan. (1931) III. 245   He evidences our being justified by bearing His testimony with our spirits that we are the children of God, and by enabling us to bring forth first the inward and then the outward fruits of the Spirit.
1796   S. T. Coleridge Compl. Poet. Wks. (1912) 153   O Lord! to thee I bend... Thy overshadowing Spirit may descend, And he be born again, a child of God.
1845   R. C. Trench Fitness Holy Script. iv. 75   Marvellously does He thus run oftentimes the lives of his children parallel with the life of the Church at large.
1850   F. W. Robertson Serm. (1878) 1st Ser. iv. 54   Man is God's child, and the sin of the man consists in perpetually living as if it were false.
1951   M. L. King in R. E. Luker & P. A. Russell Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. (1992) 424   Man may be described as the child of two parents: God, the formative agent in the process, and ‘meonic freedom’, the passive stuff which simply ‘consented’ to God's creative act.
2010   Church Times 12 Nov. 8/4   The Dean hoped that ‘conversion could be at hand, in which we recognize liberals and conservatives, Tea Partiers and socialists, libertarians and every one else, as fellow children of God.’

a1225—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 14. figurative. Expressing origin, association, natural relation, or characteristic: the offspring or product of a particular place, time, event, circumstance, influence, etc.

 a. Referring to a person.Formerly frequently in biblical use.

[OE   West Saxon Gospels: John (Corpus Cambr.) xii. 36   Þa hwile þe ge leoht habbon gelyfað on leoht þæt ge syn leohtes bearn.]
a1325  (?c1300)    in Anniv. Papers Kittredge (1913) 109 (MED)   Wel auȝte ȝe..To crist ȝour herte al ȝyue, As dude þe chyldren of þolde lawe.
a1425  (c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) John xii. 36   That ȝe be the children of liȝt [c1384 E.V. sones of liȝt; L. filii lucis].
a1500  (▸1446)    Nightingale (Calig.) l. 311 in O. Glauning Minor Poems J. Lydgate (1900) 12 (MED)   Childre of confusioun.
a1530   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfeccyon (1531) iii. f. Clxxx   We all be borne the chylder of ire, as saynt Paule sayth.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Kings vi. 32   This childe of murthure.
1598   Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost i. i. 168   This childe of Fancie that Armado hight.  
1611   Bible (King James) Judges vi. 3   The children of the East.  
a1616   Shakespeare Antony & Cleopatra (1623) ii. vii. 96   Be a Child o' th' time.  
1641   Milton Reason Church-govt. 59   The..voice of truth and all her children.
1740   E. Smith Forty Two Serm. I. vii. 130   Who are so much obliged as the Children of Light to..verify their holy Ties and Obligations, by a continual Regardfulness, never knowingly to offend him who is their Maker.
1752   W. Kenrick Parodi-tragi-comical Satire i. 5   Here a poor Birth-strangled Babe, Ditch-deliver'd by a Drab; Child of Poverty and Spleen, Mother Midnight's Magazine.
c1800   Wordsworth To Young Lady i   Dear child of nature.
1876   J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People vii. §3   Elizabeth..was a child of the Italian Renascence.
1886   F. Harrison Choice Bks. 193   Thomas Carlyle..is in spirit a child of the great Revolution.
1988   C. Ozick Primo Levi's Suicide Note in Metaphor & Memory (1989) 38   We are the children of mercy and will not allow the suffering to recede into mere past-ness.
2011   Fortean Times Mar. 49   Matt Salusbury concludes his nostalgic look at forteana for the children of the 1970s.

a1325—2011(Hide quotations)

 

 b. Referring to a thing.

a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. iv. vi. 147   Þe humoures beþ iclepid þe children of þe elementis, for eueriche of þe humours comeþ of qualite of elementis.
c1443   R. Pecock Reule of Crysten Religioun (1927) 35   What children of good werkis þou schalt brynge forþ..þei schulen be to vs children of purchace legal and leful and no bastard braunchis.
a1550  (▸1471)    G. Ripley Compend of Alchemy (Bodl. e Mus.) f. 56 (MED)   Howe the philosophers childe in the aire is borne.
1597   Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet i. iv. 97   Dreames, Which are the Children of an idle braine.  
a1616   Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) iv. iii. 116   This Noble passion Childe of integrity.  
1661   O. Felltham Resolves (rev. ed.) 72   When Mischief is the child of Mirth.
1704   Swift Full Acct. Battel between Bks. in Tale of Tub 229   War is the Child of Pride, and Pride the Daughter of Riches.
1738   Swift Compl. Coll. Genteel Conversat. p. xl   Oaths are the Children of Fashion, they are in some sense almost Annuals.
1827   B. Disraeli Vivian Grey III. v. i. 13   Experience is the child of Thought.
1847   Tennyson Princess iii. 56   Baser courses, children of despair.
1918   W. G. Bleyer Profession of Journalism 114   The Associated Press is the child of the first effort at cooperative news-gathering ever made.
1998   Science 2 Jan. 37/2   Genome informatics is a child of the information age, a status that brings clear advantages and new hurdles.

a1398—1998(Hide quotations)

 

 15. Computing. In a tree or other hierarchical structure: a node which is immediately subordinate to another node. Cf. parent n. 6.

1984   P. H. Winston Artific. Intelligence (ed. 2) iv. 89   It is common to talk about trees using terms borrowed from genealogy. Branches directly connect parents with children.
1994   Internet World Jan. 30/2   KnowBots that seek information and even spawn children (subordinate programs, a.k.a. ‘child processes’) to do subsearches.
2007   C. Moock Ess. ActionScript 3.0 xviii. 360   Note that there is no direct way to access the root node relative to any child.

1984—2007(Hide quotations)

 
III. Childbirth.

 16. Childbirth, childbearing. Obsolete.

c1330   Gregorius (Auch.) (1914) l. 175 (MED)   Þe þridde day of [= after] hire childe To chirche sche ȝede.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 11204 (MED)   Sco was at hir time o child.
?1500   Robert the Deuyll sig. Aiiiiv   Yf good prayers had not ben..she had deyed of chylde.

c1330—?1500(Hide quotations)

 

Phrases

 P1. with child.

 a. Pregnant. Hence to get with child , to go with child . Cf. to beget with child at beget v. Phrases.

[OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) i. 187   Heo þa gelyfde his wordum & wearð mid cylde.
OE   Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxxviii. 25   Be þam men ic eom mid cylde, ðe þysne hring ah.]
c1300  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Otho) (1963) l. 135   Þe mayde was wid childe[c1275 Calig. Þeo wimon was mid childe].
c1325   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 57   Whet sorewe hit is wiþ childe gon.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 2605   Agar was made wit child.
1480   Cronicles Eng. (Caxton) ccxlviii. sig. u8   She said that she was with childe.
a1525   G. Myll Spectakle of Luf in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1923) I. 285   With quhom he conversit sa that scho wox with child.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 562/2   I get a wenche with chylde, je engrosse.
1600   Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 v. iv. 9   And the child I go with do miscarry.
a1616   Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) i. ii. 71   For getting Madam Iulietta with childe .  
1651   Bp. J. Taylor Rule of Holy Living (1727) iv. 327   Women great with child.
1701   G. Farquhar Sir Harry Wildair i. 10   In the matter of five Days he got six Nuns with Child, and left 'em to provide for their Heretick Bastards.
1742   N. Dubois & G. Leoni tr. A. Palladio Antiq. Rome i, in tr. A. Palladio Architecture (ed. 3) II. 59   Sylvia being soon after got with child.
1765   J. Memis Midwife's Pocket Compan. iii. i. 197   If a miscarriage happens when a woman has been long gone with child..the danger is great.
1864   Tennyson Enoch Arden 518   Such doubts and fears were common to her state, Being with child.
1896   Jrnl. Anthropol. Inst. 25 202   If his wife is with child, he will not enter the mud pits.
1933   ‘N. West’ Miss Lonelyhearts 100   Instead of pulling the Russian by recommending suicide, you ought to get the lady with child and increase the potential circulation of the paper.
2007   Harper's Mag. Sept. 61/3   I went to work, going for the favorites first, Kit Kats and Butterfingers, filling my tucked-in shirt until I looked eight months gone with child.

c1300—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

b. In extended use, of ground, trees, ships with swelling sails, etc. Obsolete.

▸ ?1440   tr. Palladius De re Rustica (Duke Humfrey) (1896) i. l. 70   With risshis, reed, gras..also go hit [sc. good land] with childe.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry ii. f. 105   In the spring, all trees are as it were with childe.
1606   Marlowe & G. Chapman Hero & Leander iii   All her fleet of spirits came swelling in, With child of Sail.
1664   J. Chandler tr. J. B. van Helmont Wks. xxiv. 184   It is water impregnated or got with childe of a sharp volatile salt.

?1440—1664(Hide quotations)

 

 c. figurative  (a) Full (of a thing) so as to be ready to burst; teeming; = big adj. 6b;  (b) eager, longing, yearning (to do something).Now only in historical contexts.

1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Luke xxiii. f. 8   The man had of long tyme been with chylde to haue a sight of Iesus.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene i. v. sig. D7v   The noble hart, that..is with childe of glorious great intent.
1594   R. Carew tr. Tasso Godfrey of Bulloigne v. 225   Their countnance mery, and their eyes with child Of ioy.
1606   G. Chapman Gentleman Vsher iv. sig. G   The Asse is great with child of some ill newes.
1660   S. Pepys Diary 14 May (1970) I. 138   I sent my boy—who, like myself, is with child to see any strange thing.
1660   S. Pepys Diary 9 Oct. (1970) I. 262   I went to my Lord... And saw..his picture..and am with child till I get it copyed out.
1725   N. Bailey tr. Erasmus Colloq. 264   I'm with Child to hear it.
1832   J. Constable Lett. (1966) IV. 366   I am with child to see Salisbury.
1970   P. O'Brian Master & Commander (new ed.) 317   ‘I know those gunboats were trying to lead us into some sort of trap,’ said Jack, ‘and am with child to know what it was.’

1548—1970(Hide quotations)

 
 

 P2. In proverbs and proverbial phrases. the child unborn : the type of innocence or ignorance, etc.the burnt child dreads the fire: see burnt adj. 3b. children should be seen and not heard: see see v. 1a.

OE   Ælfric Homily: De Doctrina Apostolica (Hatton 115) in J. C. Pope Homilies of Ælfric (1968) II. 623   Eft cwæð sum witega, Puer centum annorum maledictus erit: Hundteontigwintre cild byð awyrged.
a1300   in Englische Studien (1900) 31 9 (MED)   I-seli child is sone ilered.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) II. xvii. clxxv. 1067   Houndes and children hateþ þe ȝerde, for þey ben þerwiþ chastysede.
a1425  (?a1400)    Chaucer Romaunt Rose (Hunterian) (1891) l. 1820   Brent child of fier hath mych drede.
1545   R. Taverner tr. Erasmus Prouerbes (new ed.) f. lxii   Oure common prouerbe..Chyldren, drunkers, and fooles, can not lye.
1546   J. Heywood Dialogue Prouerbes Eng. Tongue ii. vii. sig. K   Many kysse the childe for the nurces sake.
1547   Duke of Norfolk in J. Lingard Hist. Eng. (1855) V. iii. 103/1   Nor can [I] no more judge..what should be laid to my charge, than the child that was born this night.
1549   H. Latimer 2nd Serm. before Kynges Maiestie sig. Biiv   As the Prouerbe is, Senex bis puer. An olde manne, twyse a chyld.
1765   L. Sterne Life Tristram Shandy VIII. xxviii. 124   She knows no more..of it..than the child unborn.
1827   C. Lamb Let. June in Lett. C. & M. A. Lamb (1935) III. 90   You will have discharged your conscience, and laid the child at the right door, as they say.
1948   E. Partridge Words at War, Words at Peace 46   The Welsh express a universal truth in ‘A child in the house is a hundred enjoyments’.
2007   Victorian Stud. 49 591   Children should not be protected from self-endangerment..because only ‘the burnt child dreads the fire’.

OE—2007(Hide quotations)

 

 P3. from (also †fro, †of) a child or children , †of a child little: from childhood.

c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) 2 Macc. xv. 12   Onye..whiche was excersisid..in vertues fro a chijld [L. a puero].
?c1450   Life St. Cuthbert (1891) l. 1876 (MED)   Sho..had him noryscht of a childe.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) Mark ix. f. lvijv   Howe longe is it a goo, sens this hath happened hym? And he sayde, of a chylde [Gk. ἐκ παιδιόθεν].
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Prov. xxix. C   He that delicately bryngeth vp his seruaunt from a childe.
1611   Bible (King James) 2 Tim. iii. 15   From a childe [Gk. ἀπὸ βρέϕους] thou hast knowen the holy Scriptures.  
1656   J. Trapp Comm. Eph. vi. 11   Coriolanus had so used his weapons of a child little.
1723   D. Defoe Hist. Col. Jack (ed. 2) 5   Sharp as a Street bred Boy must be, but ignorant and unteachable from a Child.
1761   F. Sheridan Mem. Miss Sidney Bidulph I. 8   It was our continual practice, from children, to keep little journals.
1825   W. Hazlitt Spirit of Age 424   We have known him almost from a child, and we must say he appears to us the same boy-poet that he ever was.
1922   J. Galsworthy Forsyte Saga (1926) I. ii. 35   He had no hope of shaking her resolution; she was as obstinate as a mule, always had been from a child.
2008   J. Benford Silence & Tears 140   ‘How is young Ralph Parker,’ she asked the doctor; a kindly man she had known from a child.

c1384—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 P4. The Song of the Three (Holy) Children : (the traditional name for) a poem found in the Septuagint (and hence Vulgate) version of the book of Daniel, called the Benedicite in the Book of Common Prayer.

[c1450   Comm. on Canticles (Bodl. 288) in T. Arnold Sel. Eng. Wks. J. Wyclif (1871) III. 71   Þis song of þes children, where we maken an opin schrift þat God is passingli blessid.]
1534   Prymer in Eng. M.iijv (title)    The songe of the thre chyldren.
1611   Bible (King James) Song Three Children (title)    The Song of the three holy children, which followeth in the third chapter of Daniel.
1703   M. Chudleigh (title)    Poems on several occasions. Together with the song of the three children paraphras'd.
1879   Marquis of Bute tr. Rom. Breviary I. 373/2   Let us sing the Song of the Three Children, * even the Song that they sang when they blessed the Lord in the burning fiery furnace.
1976   R. Hammer Bk. Daniel 42   At this point the Septuagint inserts the Song of the Three Children.
2011   L. M. McDonald Origin of Bible iv. 99   The Song of the Three Holy Children was added to Daniel.

1534—2011(Hide quotations)

 

 P5. colloquial. this child: (esp. in African-American usage) oneself; I, me.Now only in historical contexts.

1839   New World 26 Oct. 4/7   ‘You knows you can' shine whar dis child is no how’.
a1848   G. F. A. Ruxton Life in Far West (1849) p. xiii   This child has felt like going West for many a month.
1852   H. B. Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin I. vi. 73   ‘Be careful of the horses, Sam..don't ride them too fast’... ‘Let dis child alone for dat!’ said Sam.
1927   W. E. Collinson Contemp. Eng. 74   From the sixties..not for this child.
1930   C. Wittke Tambo & Bones 169   De debble kotch ye, shoa! but bress de lam', he habn't kotch dis child yet!
1994   R. Hendrickson Happy Trails 54   Mountain men and others often called themselves ‘child’ in the early West. ‘This child's getting old.’

1839—1994(Hide quotations)

 

Compounds

 C1. Compounds with child.
 a.
 (a) General attributive, with the sense ‘of or relating to children’, ‘child's’, ‘children's’, or (sometimes) ‘childish’.
 

  child art   n.

1860   Ladies' Repository Sept. 545/1   That he had some prophetic idea of what would be the manhood of his child-art is proved from his sacrifice of self and pelf, so proverbial of all true artists.
1945   H. Read Coat of Many Colours xix. 101   Folk-art is merely child-art which has become adult.
1966   Guardian 22 Apr. 6/5   Matchstick men—taught by adults, copied by infants—can be death to child art.
2010   G. J. Daichendt Artist Teacher i. iii. 54   The importance of child art, the invention of finger paints.., and the modernist movement all played factors in the self-expressive atmosphere.

1860—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child brain   n.

a1833   A. H. Hallam Remains in Verse & Prose (1834) 10   It minds me of that famous Arab tale (First to expand the struggling notions Of my child-brain) in which the bold poor man Was checked for lack of ‘Open sesame’.
1904   Daily Chron. 21 May 4/5   My child-brain, clear and natural, could not swallow the impossibilities administered to me as facts.
1993   R. Dawkins in Devil's Chaplain (2003) iii. 129   It is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns.

a1833—1993(Hide quotations)

 

child-cheek   n. Obsolete rare

1844   E. B. Browning Lost Bower in Poems (1850) II. 239   The child-cheek blushing scarlet.
1906   W. D. Howells & H. M. Alden Heart Childhood 3   The same soft glow suffuses it and the child-cheek against which it is laid.

1844—1906(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child culture   n.

1862   Mothers' Jrnl. 27 198   The great art in child-culture is to keep the little ones happy.
1899   M. Beerbohm Around Theatres (1924) I. 87   The modern system of child-culture..is the system of treating children as decoration.
1999   Ethnology 38 97   Messages children received from their peers differ from those received from adults. The gap between child culture and adult culture is inevitable.

1862—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child face   n.

1832   J. G. Whittier in C. Fiske Bates Cambr. Bk. Poetry & Song 641/1   Still memory to a gray-haired man That sweet child-face is showing.
1909   Westm. Gaz. 23 Dec. 2/1   A child-face glowing with more radiant happiness we have never seen.
1986   W. Gibson Burning Chrome 177   Her pretty childface smooth as steel.

1832—1986(Hide quotations)

 
 

  childkind n.

1828   Q. Rev. 37 402   What would mankind, or womankind, or childkind think.
1978   Washington Post (Nexis) 5 Mar. H1   Requiring stations to increase the number of pro-social, pro-health messages they televise, would certainly be one giant step for childkind.
2010   Pet Connection (Nexis) 26 Aug.   A whole slew of obviously deep and burning questions appeared in a column below mine..presumably the most common questions posed by Mankind (and also Womankind, Childkind).

1828—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child language n.

1858   tr. C. F. D. Schubart in Dwight's Jrnl. Music 17 July 126/1   C major, is entirely pure. Its character is that of innocence, simplicity, naïveté, child-language.
1956   R. Jakobson & M. Halle Fund. of Lang. 42   Mellow constrictives, opposed to strident constrictives, or strident plosives (affricates) opposed to mellow plosives (stops proper) do not appear in child language before the emergence of the first liquid.
2011   Reading Res. Q. 46 254/2   A set of parent report inventories of child language and communication designed to yield information on the course of language development.

1858—2011(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child literature   n.

1853   Southern Literary Messenger Jan. 255/1   Child-Literature has been neglected too much by the fine gentlemen—the beaux esprits—of the literary profession.
1884   Mag. of Art Feb. 133/2   The child-literature of the last generation.
2006   Libraries & Culture 41 143   Writers indulged themselves in an out pouring of child literature, seemingly more for adults than children, as an expression of a state of mind.

1853—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child marriage   n.

1848   C. Pickering U.S. Exploring Exped.: Races of Man xiii. 258   I remarked among them various evidence of Persian descent, as in the custom of child marriages.
1894   F. J. Furnivall (title)    Child-marriages, divorces, and ratifications, &c.
1933   Lancet 22 Apr. 886/2   Legislation for the prevention of child marriage [in India].
2008   D. H. Gray Muslim Women on Move iv. 78   This marriage was contracted before the Prophet received revelations concerning marriage, though there are no explicit verses in the Qur'an proscribing child marriage.

1848—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child mind   n.

1848   J. B. Stallo Philos. of Nature i. 144   The individual is the perennial child-man and child-mind.
1906   Daily Chron. 8 Sept. 3/2   In order to interest the child-mind, the subject is treated so as to focus attention on the marvellous intricacies of Nature.
2006   M. Thomson Psychol. Subj. iv. 133   Such accounts are invariably those of adults looking back: the adult's view of the child mind.

1848—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child murder   n.

1729   Weekly Jrnl. 5 July   A woman is brought from Fife and committed to the Tolbooth here, in order to be try'd for the unnatural Crime of Child-Murder.
1845   T. Chitty Burn's Justice of Peace (ed. 29) I. 612   The offence of child-murder.
1951   W. Lewis Rotting Hill iv. 159   The newspapers have been splashing it as if it were a child-murder by an erotic homicide.
2004   Times Lit. Suppl. 1 Oct. 28/2   The details of one particular case of child murder which had long since disappeared into one of history's interstices.

1729—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child nature   n.

1840   Educ. Mag. 2 249   They ground education, not upon the communicable humanity of Jesus, but upon a human and child nature.
1874   W. B. Carpenter Princ. Mental Physiol. i. viii   Teacher Ignorant of the fundamental facts of child-nature.
1913   A. Holmes Princ. Char. Making xii. 315   Child-nature is neither plastic like this, nor is it flinty rock to be chipped into shape like the granite of a sculptor.
2005   Social Scientist 33 1   Rousseau was of the view that child nature was intrinsically good.

1840—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child poverty   n.

1905   Manch. Guardian 3 Aug. 6/2   The modern problems of child poverty.
1986   J. Mitchell in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley What is Feminism? 38   To compare our inner cities, and child poverty and abuse with Dickensian England, seems at first sight preposterous and vulgarly polemical.
2007   Independent 29 Oct. 36/2   I look forward to seeing how the Government boneheads will fulfil their pledge to eradicate child poverty.

1905—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child prostitution n.

1885   Newcastle Weekly Courant 30 Jan.   There was a large increase of child prostitution just about the season of the Christmas pantomimes.
1961   Population Stud. 15 46   Local committees set out to fight against such evils as child prostitution by compelling enforcement of the new legislation.
2004   Edmonton (Alberta) Jrnl. (Nexis) 21 Jan. (Ideas section) 13   Child prostitution is a growing problem, especially in the Third World.

1885—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child sacrifice   n.

1794   R. Hurd Life Warburton in Bp. W. Warburton Wks. (1811) VI. 355   Micah..understood the true Origin, and consequently, the right import of Child-sacrifice.
1860   E. B. Pusey Minor Prophets 3   Baal and Ashtaroth, with all their abominations of consecrated child-sacrifices.
1923   W. Crafer Bk. Hosea 58   Some see in the whole passage a reference to child-sacrifice, as the sin directly responsible for the punishment.
2006   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 19 Oct. 38/1   The immigrants..engage in ritual murder and child sacrifice in addition to the usual menu of rum-running and alien-smuggling.

1794—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child slavery   n.

1833   Age 28 Apr. 134/3   When will an ‘Anti-Infant Slavery Association’ be established, for promoting the ‘immediate abolition’ of child-slavery in the British factories?
1925   Catholic Hist. Rev. 11 71   A harvest of child murder and child slavery.
2001   Rotarian Apr. 3/1   A human rights meeting in South Africa revealed a burgeoning traffic in child slavery.

1833—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-smile   n.

1838   D. G. Osborne Granta (ed. 2) ccxiv. 108   No child smile recognition in her face.
1850   E. B. Browning Poems II. 216   To erase the child-smile from her lips.
2006   S. Virgo Begging Questions 61   With delight and energy, her clear eyes and child-smile discounting altogether the lascivious motions of her hips.

1838—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child spirit   n.

1841   Tait's Edinb. Mag. Nov. 684/1   As they alight, the Earth, now new-born child-spirit, advances to them.
1883   H. Drummond Nat. Law in Spiritual World (ed. 2) 271   The condition of entrance into the spiritual kingdom is to possess the child-spirit.
1992   C. P. Estés Women who run with Wolves v. 151   If you could lay your eyes upon the most..unpitying person alive, during sleep..you would see in them for a moment the untainted child spirit.

1841—1992(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child suffering   n.

1889   N. Amer. Rev. June 708   Nature and Religion recognize the sadness of child suffering.
1923   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 2 June 954/1   Even to the casual observer a vast amount of child suffering is apparent.
2003   Internat. Rev. Educ. 49 207   Even in relatively prosperous countries, there is increasing awareness of child suffering and unhappiness.

1889—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child voice   n.

1843   M. Howitt Love & Money iv. 48   The carol-singers went of an evening from house to house, singing, in their pleasant child voices.
1898   T. Watts-Dunton Aylwin i. §2   Into my very being that child-voice passed.
1944   E. Sitwell Song of Cold 31   Lest I hear your child-voice crying.
2008   M. G. Neuman Truth about Cheating 124   Your child voice has been around a longer time and began when you were a young, malleable person.

1843—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-word   n.

1848   E. Oakes Smith Salamander xvi. 134   The child-word, forgive, is beautiful from mortal lips, and touches even angelic hearts.
1947   Mod. Lang. Rev. 42 354   The transition from the child-word to the conventional word.
1999   Dialectical Anthropol. 24 282   At no point did she speak the word holocaust..but the childword for me..in the dialect of where they came from.

1848—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child world   n.

1605   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. ii. ii. 414   The child-World's mayden Monarchie.
1856   J. G. Whittier Brewing of Soma viii   As in that child-world's early year.
1991   R. A. Jamieson Day at Office 29   Imagining her as she was then, huge and centrally placed in his child world.

1605—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 (b) Appositive.
 

  child actor   n.

1807   Crit. Rev. Mar. 300   We cannot deny to our author the merit of having combated the popular opinion in favour of a child actor, when at its highest.
1967   Punch 23 Aug. 287/1   Also good is the Lady Macduff scene between Sheila Allen and Peter Nobbs, a child actor refreshingly free of the usual milksoppery.
2012   H. Cheung & N. Pittam Christian Bale ii. 24   Behind every child actor is at least one supportive and ambitious parent.

1807—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child actress   n.

1854   Daily Cleveland (Ohio) Herald 29 July   The celebrated child-actresses, known as the Bateman children.
1936   Irish Monthly 64 158   A child actress, Shirley Temple, was the most popular of all film stars in the twelve months' period just past.
2011   New Yorker 2 May 9/1   Carly Rose Sonenclar, the gifted child actress who plays Alice's daughter, Chloe.

1854—2011(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child angel   n.

1823   Manch. Iris 4 Jan. 184/1   There lay, sure enough, wrapt in its cloudy swaddling bands—a Child-Angel.
1901   M. Cruttwell Andrea Mantegna vii. 104   Below the gradino of her throne a child-angel is seated, a lute across its knees, its mouth open in song.
2012   Palm Beach (Florida) Post (Nexis) 2 Feb.   Two of the statues were plant holders in the shape of a woman's torso. The third statue was of twin child angels.

1823—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-girl   n.

1816   Leaves 17   Perched on a stone, beside the cottage-door, Sat a child-girl, in raiment somewhat poor.
1967   Chicago Rev. 19 No. 3. 110   It is his infatuation with a strange, drifting child-girl named Lenore that begins his descent.
2006   N. Amer. Rev. 291 4/2   I was my lover's child-girl, and he was like a daddy.

1816—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-heroine   n.

1843   Court Mag. May 103/1   There is only one tale, of which Beatrice Desmond is the child-heroine.
1903   Mod. Lang. Notes 18 232/2   The child heroine is introduced..‘Alice [Emmie] most won my love’.
1997   Independent on Sunday 16 Feb. (Review Suppl.) 30/2   Jane, the grave, sensible, put-upon child-heroine of Mona Simpson's unshowily intelligent third novel, was born in a commune.

1843—1997(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-king   n.

a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. vi. xix. 320   Woo is þe lond þat hath a childe kinge [L. cuius rex puer est].
1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 232   England felt all miseries which happen under a child-King.
1998   Time Out N.Y. 2 July 82/2   Spielberg became the child-king of Hollywood, and success clearly fucked with his film-nerd mind.

a1398—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child labourer   n.

1839   Times 31 Jan. 3/1   A man labourer, not a woman labourer nor a child labourer..shall have such wages as will enable him to keep his wife and children in comfort and in peace.
1905   Ann. Amer. Acad. Polit. & Social Sci. 25 60   In Illinois alone the number of child laborers seems to have doubled during five years.
2006   R. Das Poverty & Hunger xviii. 284   She was only nine years old when she worked as a child labourer and earned meager wages for her family.

1839—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-man   n.

a1450   St. Edith (Faust.) (1883) l. 1515 (MED)   A ȝong chylde-mon come renne a-syde & to þis holy mayde he dude honure.
1841   T. Carlyle On Heroes i. 11   The first Pagan Thinker..was precisely the child-man of Aristotle.
2011   Wall St. Jrnl. 2 Apr. c10/4   Nick Hornby is the most prolific chronicler..of the child-man, the post-adolescent but pre-adult male.

a1450—2011(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-mother   n.

1848   Mirror Monthly Mag. Jan. 140   To the free and wild delight of its child-mother it began to toddle.
1968   Stud. Eng. Lit. 1500–1900 8 640   It is the world, the Murdstones, and not Death that robs David of this child mother.
2011   Daily Monitor (Kampala) (Nexis) 1 Dec.   Women legislators have asked the government to develop a policy to educate child-mothers.

1848—2011(Hide quotations)

 

child-noble   n. Obsolete rare

1873   ‘Ouida’ Pascarèl I. i. ii. 22   A child-noble in his gala-costume of white and gold and powder and jewels.

1873—1873(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-prince   n.

1586   T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. I. 620 (margin)    A child Prince is a token of Gods wrath.
1887   Art Amateur 17 133/3   ‘A Political Marriage’, by J. A. Mitchell, shows a child prince and a princess, in sixteenth century costume.
2011   A. J. Fromherz Ibn Khaldun iii. 66   This rival called upon Ibn Khaldun to aid him in his overthrow of the child-prince.

1586—2011(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-saint   n.

1610   P. Holland tr. W. Camden Brit. i. 396   S. Rumald..was canonized..for a child-Saint.
1890   Irish Monthly 18 435   One can fancy the ecstatic joy which then filled the soul of Francis—already at ten years of age a child-saint.
2004   J. P. Waghorne Diaspora of Gods 248   The full story of the child-saint is re-told in a condensed English version of the twelfth-century Periya Puranam.

1610—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child soldier   n.

1855   P. G. Hamerton Isles Loch Awe 303 (title)    The child-soldier... He was a British Grenadier, And he was ten years old.
1934   Manch. Guardian 7 Nov. 13/7   A silver bayonet is to be the annual prize given to the best child soldier in Italy.
2001   C. Coker Humane Warfare vi. 123   Child soldiers are used by all accounts for their ruthlessness, their lack of moral inhibitions, their lack of restraint.

1855—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child sweetheart   n.

1840   Hartford (Connecticut) Daily Courant 4 Jan. 321/1 (title)    Lines on his New Child-Sweetheart by Thomas Campbell.
1901   Times 9 Nov. 12/6   The machinations of an enterprising spinster..who stuck at nothing to oust the child-sweetheart.
2009   Daily Record (Glasgow) (Nexis) 26 Dec. 84   Congrats to Scotland and Celtic star Stephen McManus who got hitched to his gorgeous child sweetheart last week.

1840—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child virgin   n.

1864   Boston Daily Advertiser 7 May   You behold the old blue sky of childhood where Heaven used to be and Titian's child-virgin..mounts the stairs.
1866   W. D. Howells Venetian Life iv. 61   Titian's child-virgin.
2008   R. Giorgi European Art 17th Cent. 99   The child Virgin is raised to Heaven standing on a cloud supported by child angels.

1864—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 (c) Objective with agent and verbal nouns, and present participles, as child battering n., child-eater, child-eating n., child-killer, child-killing n., child-lover, child-loving adj., child-murderer, child rapist, child-stealer, etc.

OE (Mercian)   Rushw. Gospels: Matt. xxiv. 19   Uae autem prignantibus et nutriantibus in illis diebus : wa þonne eknum & cildfoedendum in ðæm dagum.
c1443   R. Pecock Reule of Crysten Religioun (1927) 275   Þat he..not lette child bigeting and forþ bringyng.
1577   R. Holinshed Chron. II. 738/1   To liue vnder suche a bloud-supper and childe kyller.
1595   Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 3 ii. ii. 112   That Clifford there, that Cruell child-killer.
1613   S. Hutton tr. J. M. de Franchis Of Most Auspicatious Marriage i. ciii. 18   I first mou'd his child-eater from hence, That Gods might better see their blessed off-spring Flourish for euer in glorious excellence.
1656   T. Blount Glossographia   Infanticide, a slaying or killing of Infants, child-murthering; such was that of Herod.
1675   Mistaken Husband iv. vi. 51   I would fain be acquainted with these Child-stealers. I have a Litter of my little Urchins at home.
1790   European Mag. & London Rev. Apr. 257/2   This cruel Clyfford,..not contentive with this homicide or child-killing,..caused his head to be stryck off.
1826   Scott Woodstock II. viii. 214   I was captain in Lunsford's light-horse..I was a child-eater, sir.
1835   Foreign Q. Rev. Mar. 85/2   The wholesale infanticide so justly imputable to these institutions (founded..to prevent child-killing by retail) has decreased.
1845   J. H. Newman Ess. Devel. Christian Doctr. 224   The calumnies of child-eating and impurity in the christian meetings.
1852   Lamp 11 Sept. 529/2   Christ, the child-lover, already had unstopped the ears which had heard no discord, to listen to the harmonies of saints.
1853   Ladies' Repository Oct. 480/2   An exquisite slave is what we want; for the most part a humble, flattering, smiling, child-loving, tea-making, pianoforte-playing being.
1865   Sat. Rev. Aug. 162   The professional child-murderer.
1879   Burlington (Iowa) Daily Hawk-eye 12 Mar. 4/6   It was the intention of the mob, which yesterday attempted to hang Patterson, the child rapist, to break into the jail last night and finish its work.
1903   Presbyterian Banner (U.S.) 7 May 19/2   For this..child-killing under sanction of law,..Pennsylvania should be printed in black upon all the maps.
1908   J. H. McCarthy Duke's Motto 179   Æsop..now began to taunt his antagonist savagely, calling him a child-stealer and a woman-wronger, with other foul terms of abuse.
1922   Maternity & Child Welfare Jan. 3/1   Even the most ardent child-lover, the mother who is sweet-tempered and self-controlled,..tends to have her vision blurred by too close and continued contact.
1949   Changing Times June 38/1   There are enormous rewards for the child-loving woman in such work.
1963   Bridgeport (Connecticut) Sunday Post 8 Sept. c1/1   Bridgeport hospitals were found to have no overall policy on suspected child battering.
1986   L. Gordon in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley What is Feminism? 72   Exclusive female responsibility for childraising.
2000   Sydney Morning Herald 31 May 3/5   Sex offenders and child killers will be listed on the register for 10 years.

OE—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 (d) Parasynthetic.
 

  child-eyed adj.

1882   A. C. Swinburne in C. Fiske Bates Cambr. Bk. Poetry & Song 553   With little unblown breasts and child-eyed looks Following, the very maid, the girl-child spring.
1925   W. Deeping Sorrell & Son xiv. 129   Merry, insouciant, child-eyed little lady.
2007   M. Thomas Man Gone Down ii. 23   He stared back at them..as though he was a boy looking at cupcakes, or a carnivore looking at flesh—child-eyed, man-jawed.

1882—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-faced adj.

1846   C. G. F. Gore Peers & Parvenus III. ii. 49   I swear that this charming heiress,—this clear-minded, pure-hearted, child-faced daughter,..prefers you.
1912   Metropolitan May 36/2   Who was this child-faced woman, whose passion..drove her to secret imagings of love and lovers?
2001   D. Holloway Dallas Jack Ruby Trial i. 6   Candy was a pretty, child-faced woman of 26.

1846—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 (e) Similative.
 

  child-simple adj.

1844   E. B. Barrett Poems II. 238   Child-simple, undefiled, Frank, obedient.
1978   G. Nuttall King Twist ii. i. 28   The issues are child-simple. Be a child. Don't grow.

1844—1978(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-young adj.

OE   Maxims I 48   Ne sceal hine mon cildgeongne forcweþan, ær he hine acyþan mote.
OE   Rule St. Benet (Corpus Cambr.) lxx. 130   Cildgeongum mannum [a1225 Winteney cyldȝeonȝe manna; L. infantibus] eal geferræden unþeawas styre, and hyra mycele gymene hæbben oð þæt fifteoþe ger hyra ylde.
c1330  (?c1300)    Guy of Warwick (Auch.) l. 6440 (MED)   A child-ȝong man, apliȝt, Þat was þe doukes kinseman..Alle on he folwed sir Gij.
1824   in J. Maidment North Countrie Garland 13   ‘Father,’ said she, ‘you have done me wrong, For ye have married me, on a childe young man.’
1949   I. Schneider tr. M. Gorky Autobiogr. ii. 14   Her face was child-young.
2010   J. Patterson Cross Fire xxviii. 97   He was child-young, but there was nothing resembling fear in those brown doe eyes of his.

OE—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 b.

  child abuse n. maltreatment of a child, esp. consisting of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or any combination of these.

1827   Hampshire Tel. & Sussex Chron. 24 Dec.   It requires..the public to insist on having the Machine used, instead of the Child, to effect a gradual abandonment of a system of child abuse.
1892   Autumn Leaves 5 360/2   ‘Spare the rod, and spoil the child’, has been the cause of no end of child abuse and of unhappy homes.
1918   National Humane Rev. Apr. 66/1   The original objects and plans of the first society for the prevention of cruelty to children were the investigation, rescue and prosecution of alleged cases of child-abuse.
1972   Newsweek 11 Sept. 76/1   Other themes scheduled for prime-time dramatic treatment include impotency, castration,..and child abuse.
2009   New Yorker 19 Jan. 34/2   If a nursing woman drinks to excess..can she be charged with child abuse?

1827—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child abuser   n. a person who commits child abuse.

1873   Racine County (Wisconsin) Argus 20 Mar.   More child whipping—As might be supposed the victim was a little child..under the supervision of the champion child abuser.
1904   Hibbert Jrnl. Oct. 15   A millstone round the neck of a child-abuser is too light a penalty.
1976   S. Brandon in M. Borland Violence in Family i. 4   Compared with women, the male child abuser is more likely to have a serious personality disorder of a psychopathic type.
2009   Irish Times (Nexis) 24 Nov. 4   A..convicted child abuser will be sentenced later for rape and sexual assault of five teenage boys over a 13-year period.

1873—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  childage   n.  [ < child n. + age n.] now English regional (Lincolnshire) childhood.

1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. John Pref. 4 a   In your very chyldage there appered in you a certayne..meruelous towardenes.
1638   T. Whitaker Blood of Grape 43   Childage, which from the birth is extended to the foureteenth or fifteenth yeare.
1766   R. Griffith & E. Griffith Lett. Henry & Frances IV. 130   We..return back, from Midage, to Childage, again.
1995   J. M. Sims-Kimbrey Wodds & Doggerybaw: Lincs. Dial. Dict.   Childage, childhood.

1548—1995(Hide quotations)

 

  child allowance   n. a tax allowance granted to parents of dependent children; (also, loosely) = child benefit n.

1920   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 24 July 145/2   Income Tax. Senex inquires whether on the facts stated it is worth his while to claim repayment for..child allowance.
1959   G. Slatter Gun in my Hand 225   People in the pubs spending the child allowance on booze.
1974   Hansard Commons 13 Nov. 418   The Government are committed to extend the family allowance to the first child under their child allowance scheme.
1991   Struct. Change & Econ. Dynamics 2 242   Erosion in the child allowance..started in the mid-1970s, as a result of which the credit (allowance) point has lost 30% of its purchasing power.

1920—1991(Hide quotations)

 

  child benefit   n. (chiefly in the United Kingdom) a state allowance paid to a parent or guardian for each child cared for (replacing family allowance: see family allowance n.).

1975   Child Benefit Act c. 61 § 1 (1)   A person who is responsible for one or more children in any week..shall be entitled to a benefit (to be known as ‘child benefit’) for that week in respect of the child or each of the children for whom he is responsible.
1991   Pract. Health Jan. 57/2   Her take-home pay is £52 for a 26-hour week, plus Child Benefit of £7.25 and the One-Parent Benefit of £5.60.
2012   Birmingham Post (Nexis) 2 Feb. 18   Parents would only receive child benefit for three children and no more.

1975—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-bereft adj. that has lost a child or children, esp. denoting a parent whose child has died.

1848   Sharpe's London Mag. Nov. 22/2   How calmly does he rebuke the intemperate grief of the child-bereft Constance!
1899   Outlook 23 Dec. 955/2   The vacant chair and the silence of a child-bereft home.
1990   Jrnl. Arabic Lit. 21 145   The wailing of child-bereft women.
2009   S. Kelso Riversend i. 6   A child-bereft woman's grief.

1848—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child bird   n. now rare (in South America) a penguin.  [After American Spanish †paxaro niño (1646, in the passage translated in quot. 1703, or earlier; now pajaro niño).]

1703   tr. A. de Ovalle Hist. Relation Chile i. xix. 39/1   There is another Bird call'd the Child Bird [Sp. paxaro niño], because it looks like a Swadled Child, with its Arms at liberty;..perhaps they are the same call'd Pinguins.
1847   T. Ross tr. J. J. von Tschudi Trav. Peru i. iii. 36   The Peruvians call it Paxaro niño (the child bird). It is easily tamed, becomes very social, and follows its master like a dog.
1979   R. T. Peterson Penguins 156   These days in much of South America, as elsewhere, it has become unthinkable to kill or harm the pajaro nino, ‘child bird’.

1703—1979(Hide quotations)

 

  child-bishop   n. = boy bishop n. 2.

1570   J. Foxe Actes & Monumentes (rev. ed.) II. 1188/2   On Childermas day..he offered in Paules Churche at offeryng time, to the child bishop (called S. Nicolas) a dogge for deuotion.
1720   J. Strype Stow's Surv. of London (rev. ed.) I. i. xxv. 166/1   The Children every Childermas Day to go to Paul's Church, and hear the Child-Bishop Sermon.
1987   Environmental Rev. 11 3   The world was turned upside-down: a nubile young girl presided as Child-Bishop and the watery-eyed village toper reigned as Lord of Misrule.

1570—1987(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-bride   n. a bride who is still a child; a very young bride.

1843   E. Bulwer-Lytton Last of Barons II. v. i. 162   Boy-bridegroom and child-bride as we were.
1865   Spectator 7 Jan. 21/1   The child bride, who married at ten, joined her husband at fourteen, was left a widow at sixteen, and died at twenty-six.
1909   Daily Chron. 9 Oct. 3/1   The author shows us the child-bride arriving at the court of France.
1986   S. Penman Here be Dragons (1991) (U.K. ed.) i. iii. 60   His sisters, who had been bartered as child brides to foreign princes, were little more to him now than time-dimmed memories.
2000   Big Issue 10 Apr. 31/4   Norma Jeane's [sic] trajectory from child-bride to blonde bombshell, her vulnerability and intense need to find herself, propel the reader past the sticky bits.

1843—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  child-centred   adj. (esp. of education) centred around the child; giving priority to the interests and needs of children.

1923   Math. Teacher 16 71   Mathematics teachers of the University High School agree..that the work of the former period is child-centered.
1970   Guardian 28 Jan. 11/5   The child-centred, permissive approach.
2007   Independent 8 Dec. 21/2   Such children..need genuinely child-centred learning in small groups.

1923—2007(Hide quotations)

 

child changed adj. Obsolete rare—1 changed by the conduct of his children; (perhaps also) changed into a child.

1608   Shakespeare King Lear xxi. 15   This child changed father.  

1608—1608(Hide quotations)

 

  child-crowing   n. Medicine (now rare) spasm of the muscles closing the larynx, which results in crowing inspiratory sounds, occurring in a child; cf. croup n.2 1.

a1830   R. Gooch Pract. Compend. Midwifery (1831) 337   I know of no name for it more appropriate than that of child-crowing.
1861   T. J. Graham Pract. Med. 191   The child-crowing, though merely a spasmodic disease, is not..free from danger.
1911   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 2 Sept. 484/2   Cases of stridor and child-crowing.
2003   T. Navarra Encycl. Asthma & Respiratory Disorders 116/2   Laryngismus stridulus, also known as child crowing, a spasm that briefly causes closure of the glottis.

a1830—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  child custody   n. Law responsibility for or guardianship of a child or children, esp. as vested in one of the parents after divorce or separation; = custody n. 6; frequently attributive.

1857   N.Y. Daily Times 18 Mar. 8/1 (headline)    The child custody case.
1947   Social Service Rev. 21 125/2   Social service for children, as contrasted with child custody, was new.
1977   Washington Post 28 July 4/1   More than half the partners bring along children from a previous marriage, complicating the second marriage with child custody headaches.
1993   Canad. Living July 119/2   Such potentially emotional issues as child custody and parental visitation rights.
2004   N. K. Choudri Compl. Guide Divorce Law 92   Because children often mean more to people than anything else in their lives, child custody battles can be the most contentious and most protracted of all divorce-related disputes.

1857—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  child destruction   n. the killing of a child; (Law, chiefly British) the crime of causing a viable unborn child to die during the course of pregnancy or birth, before it has an existence independent of its mother.

1859   Age (Melbourne) 16 Dec. 6/6   To mark his displeasure of the growing crime of child destruction and as a warning to others, the sentence of the court was that she be imprisoned.
1928   Scotsman 23 Nov. 13/1   The Preservation of Infant Life Bill..provides that any person, who, with intent to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive, by any wilful act causes the child to die before it has an existence independent of its mother, should be guilty of child destruction.
2005   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 1 Oct. 716/4   They would face criminal charges, after being arrested last February on suspicion of conspiracy to commit child destruction.

1859—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child development   n. the changes which occur as children mature physically, emotionally, socially, linguistically, and cognitively; the study of this; frequently attributive.

1879   Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago) 13 June 2/6   I have arranged a series of diet tables for the various stages of child development.
1941   Jrnl. Exper. Educ. 10 114/1   The term ‘insecurity’ and its correlative ‘desire for security’ appear extensively in child development literature.
1961   Hist. Educ. Q. 1 No. 3. 48   Both Comenius and Pestalozzi were searching for a mid-position that would be congruous with child development yet not imprisoned by educational permissivism.
2009   A. Sohn Prospect Park West 126   She made an effort to talk to Mance all the time in a light, pleasing sing-song that child development experts called motherese.

1879—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child-directed speech   n. Linguistics and Social Psychology a simplified form of language used in speaking to babies and young children; cf. motherese n., baby talk n. at baby n. and adj. Compounds 7.

[1972   P. A. Broen Verbal Environm. of Language-learning Child iii. 17   It remains to be seen how pauses function in child-directed adult speech.]
1987   C. E. Snow et al. in K. E. Nelson & A. Van Kleek Children's Lang. VI. iv. 66   Fine-tuning implies that, as the child's own language ability develops, the caretakers decrease the amount of simplification or modification in their child-directed speech.
2002   Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 29 Mar. 3   Research indicates that higher-pitched voices are part of child-directed speech (CDS), which also includes rising intonation, altered vocabulary and other pronoun changes.
2009   C. K. Sigelman & E. A. Rider Life-span Human Devel. (ed. 6) x. 285/1   Those parents who use child-directed speech further simplify the child's task of figuring out the rules of language.

1987—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child-farming   n. now hist. = baby farming n.

1849   Standard 11 Jan.   The only sufferers were the poor children in the child-farming establishment.
1872   J. Forster Life Dickens (1874) III. 257   A child-farming that deserved the gallows.
1970   V. George Foster Care (2002) i. 11   There was the inevitable fear that since boarding out was similar in some respects to apprenticeship and child farming, foster children might be similarly ill-treated and neglected.
2006   S. Hempel Med. Detective 111   It was to take an outbreak of cholera to put a stop to child-farming once and for all.

1849—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-friendliness   n. the quality of being child-friendly.

1987   Trans. Inst. Brit. Geographers 12 172/2   The deviations towards child friendliness are minor peturbations [sic] compared to the prevailing level of threat.
1996   Independent (Nexis) 31 Oct. 13   The gospel of child-friendliness..is spreading far and wide from pubs to brasseries, motorway service stations to hotels.
2009   K. Covell & R. B. Howe Children, Families & Violence 196   Among the common characteristics of political cultures in the Nordic countries is a relatively high degree of child-friendliness.

1987—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-friendly adj. welcoming towards or suitable for children; designed with the needs, interests, or safety of children in mind.

1977   Los Angeles Times 26 July iv. 4/1   L.A. is not a child-friendly place. I've never heard of such a thing anywhere else—you can't rent with children​!
1985   Guardian 6 Dec. 16/8   The account we get is authentically child-friendly.
1998   A. Forna Mother of All Myths (1999) vii. 213   British travellers who spend time in Southern European countries, or further afield in Africa or Asia, often remark on how ‘child-friendly’ such societies are.
2008   Vanity Fair Aug. 141/3   A buyer will have to like the somewhat cheesy indoor swimming pool with child-friendly slide.

1977—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  child-geared adj.  (a) having a childish manner (obsolete);  (b) directed towards or designed to suit children.

c1400  (?c1390)    Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 86   He watȝ so joly of his joyfnes, & sum-quat child-gered.
1958   Poultry Digest Apr. 226/2   I suggest a child-geared ‘eat-an-egg-for-breakfast’ campaign of some kind.
2013   Los Angeles Times (Nexis) 17 May d9   Will, with the help of wonderful special teachers, undergoes similar anti-anxiety routines plus other child-geared calming practices.

c1400—2013(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child genius   n. a child who is precociously intelligent or gifted; a child prodigy.

1845   E. Meteyard Struggles for Fame II. vi. 78   This beggarly child genius.
1929   Sci. News Let. 23 Nov. 325/3   The geneticist marshals a parade of the child geniuses of the past who displayed precocious talent almost in babyhood.
2003   B. Shaw Great Debating Ideas 45   By attending school with age-peers the child genius can mix and play normally with those at the same stage of development and who share similar interests.

1845—2003(Hide quotations)

 

child-great adj. Obsolete big with child, pregnant.

1605   J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks. i. iii. 98   A Child-great Woman.

1605—1605(Hide quotations)

 

  child guidance   n. supervision or therapeutic treatment to promote the welfare, esp. in its psychological aspects, of children and adolescents; frequently attributive.

1896   Boston Daily Advertiser 17 Oct.   ‘Child Guidance’ was the interesting subject upon which Mrs Sarah Farwell Of St Paul, Minn., spoke on Thursday.
1937   ‘E. M. Delafield’ Ladies & Gentlemen in Victorian Fiction i. 33   A modern child-guidance expert.
1940   R. S. Woodworth Psychol. (ed. 12) i. 13   When a child presents a serious behaviour problem..he may be taken to a child guidance clinic.
2003   G. Newton From Victoria to Viagra (Wellcome Trust) 40/2   Specific areas such as neonatology, paediatric surgery..and child adolescent psychiatry, which emerged out of both child guidance and psychoanalytical theories that were being formulated in the early 20th century.

1896—2003(Hide quotations)

 

child ill   n. Scottish Obsolete the pains of childbirth; labour.

1489  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) xvi. 278   It is ye layndar..Yat hyr child-ill [1487 St. John's Cambr. childyne] rycht now has tane.
a1525   in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1923) I. 218   Within vj days efter for diseis scho toke hir child ill.
a1600  (?c1535)    tr. H. Boece Hist. Scotl. (Mar Lodge) viii. xiv. f. 284, in Dict. Older Sc. Tongue at Child-ill   Ada..in hir childe ill with hir birth deceissing.

1489—a1600(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child labour   n.  (a) the process of childbirth; = labour n. 8a   (obsolete);  (b) the use of children in industry or business, esp. when illegal or considered inhumane.

1585   J. Banister Wecker's Compend. Chyrurg. xliii. 238   Childlabour neere hande, or newe fulfilled, argueth the part to bee inflamed through store of milke.
1738   Med. Ess, & Observ. (ed. 2) IV. xxxiii. 444   I thought it proper to send you the following History of a Woman who died in Child-Labour.
1817   J. Farey Gen. View Agric. Derbyshire III. 503   An almost incessant state of extended war.., since most of the Spinning Mills were erected, and the system of Child-labour began, which I am now deprecating.
1839   Med. Times 5 Oct. 12/3   An inquest ought generally to be held where death has followed on child labour.
1878   N. Amer. Rev. 127 448   Limitation of child-labor.
1930   C. E. Morgan Origin & Hist. N.Y. Employing Printers' Assoc. iv. 44   The Typographical Association of New York..denounced child labor, especially the use of roller boys.
1986   New Scientist 9 Oct. 18/3   The institute argues that child labour perpetuates the backwardness of the most disadvantaged people in India.
2009   Independent 2 Nov. 23/1   Federal authorities said spot checks on farms in the state of Michigan found that more than half were violating child labour or migrant housing rules.

1585—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child-land   n. rare an idealized or imaginary realm of children or childhood.

1882   Musical Times & Singing Class Circular 23 142/2   The second belongs to the pantomime writer; the first to the musician when he addresses a higher audience than is found in child-land.
1994   J. Foy Arts & Amer. Home vii. 129   Based on illustrations by the English artist Kate Greenaway, who depicted a ‘child-land’ inhabited by quaint, sweet, and gentle children who were ‘always happy’.

1882—1994(Hide quotations)

 

  child-life   n. life as a child; childhood; the lives of the children of a nation or community.

1841   Universalist Union 27 Nov. 21/1   They are natural stories of child life, written in a simple, yet very graceful and pleasing style.
1885   M. I. Bryson (title)    Child Life in Chinese Homes.
1933   Times Lit. Suppl. 2 Mar. 151/2   This latest medical pamphlet contains three papers in which Adlerian psychology is applied to various phases of child life.
2011   Future of Children 21 98/1   Even with fully staffed nursing and ancillary support from volunteers and child-life specialists, most hospitalized children spend most of their day with no health care professionals in their room.

1841—2011(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child lock   n. any of various locking devices designed to prevent a child from opening, accessing, or using something which is perceived as unsuitable or potentially harmful.Originally with reference to physical locks on car doors, medicine cabinets, etc.; later also of pass codes or similar security features used to prevent or restrict access to computers, electronic devices, etc.

1961   Guardian 16 Oct. 3/5   Most children from the age of four can manipulate undetected a quick release safety belt and any form of child lock which operates from the inside of the car.
1988   Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Nexis) 19 June   The VCR features a 14-function infra-red remote control, a child-lock to avoid interruption of the tape or accidental erasure, [etc.].
2005   Herald Express (Torquay) (Nexis) 25 May 7   Their escape was foiled by a child lock on a window until firefighters tore the window from its frame to rescue his two daughters.
2012   Western Daily Press (Nexis) 14 July (Letters section) 22   The facts of life, which any ten-year-old with parents who don't know how to put a child lock on their computer could have worked out for themselves.

1961—2012(Hide quotations)

 

  child molestation   n. sexual abuse of a child by an adult.

1949   Yuma (Arizona) Daily Sun 15 Nov. 1/1   Stroble, who police said was a fugitive since he jumped $1000 bail in connection with a child-molestation case, was known to have been friendly with Linda.
1950   Collier's 21 Jan. 21/1   How many cases of child molestation were never reported to the police?
1977   Daily Mirror 15 Mar. 3/5   [The] film director.., who is accused of rape, child molestation..[etc.], claimed today that he is innocent.
2012   Los Angeles Times (Nexis) 9 Jan. a1   At least a dozen child molestation and child pornography prosecutions since 2000.

1949—2012(Hide quotations)

 

  child molester   n. a person who is guilty of child molestation.

1939   Mansfield (Ohio) News Jrnl. 11 Oct. 2/2 (headline)    Officers Get New Reports on Child Molester From Girl.
1981   G. Swift Shuttlecock i. 15   A suspected child-molester..who commits suicide before proceedings can be taken.
2003   Toronto Sun (Nexis) 26 May 14   A convicted child molester..was able to refuse giving a sample of his DNA to police.

1939—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child offender   n.  (a) a child who is guilty of an offence;  (b) an adult who is guilty of an offence (esp. a sexual offence) against a child.

1846   London Daily News 4 Feb. 4/5   I have seen him so moved at sight of the Child-Offenders.
1922   Friend Jan. 9/2   Child offenders must be classed no longer with adult outcasts, thugs and criminals.
1978   A. N. Groth in A. W. Burgess et al. Sexual Assault of Children & Adolescents ii. 38   The child offender turns to children for comfort and satisfaction of his needs, not to adult authority figures.
1997   Daily Mail (Nexis) 20 Oct. 1   Paedophiles will face indefinite jail sentences in future... Child offenders will be locked up for as long as doctors feel they are dangerous.
2010   N. Abiad & F. Z. Mansoor Criminal Law & Rights of Child in Muslim States ii. 19   Until mid-1988, of 72 States and territories which retained the death penalty in their laws, half had provisions in national law which excluded child offenders.

1846—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child porn n. = child pornography n.

1974   Zanesville (Ohio) Times Recorder 29 May d1/2   Police raids have gathered up whole warehouses of child porn.
2000   Police Feb. 20/1   Up until now, Internet-friendly pornographers, either suppliers or receivers of child porn, have had relatively easy lives.

1974—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child pornographer   n. a person who produces, distributes, or collects child pornography.

1977   Joplin (Missouri) Globe 11 Apr. 2 b/1   Greedy child pornographers are ruining the lives of thousands of boys and girls each year by catering to purient [sic] interests.
1993   Spy (N.Y.) Jan. 7/1   A..convicted child pornographer facing a maximum ten years in jail.
2003   Congress. Rec. 24 Feb. 4236/1   We cannot and we will not permit child pornographers to hide behind the courts or modern technology.

1977—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child pornography n. pornographic material featuring sexually explicit images or descriptions of children.

1967   Winnipeg Free Press 18 Nov. (Weekend Mag.) 4/2   To treat the molestors, the slides shown include an extensive collection of child pornography.
1987   Jrnl. Policy Anal. & Managem. 6 243   Some opponents of child pornography may fear the pleasure of the consumers rather than the damage to performers, as evidenced by their opposition to descriptions and drawings as well as photographs.
2004   H. Kennedy Just Law (2005) xii. 251   Operation Ore—the United Kingdom's largest ever hunt for internet users who download child pornography.

1967—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child prodigy   n. a child with precocious talent, esp. in the performing arts, an infant prodigy; cf. prodigy n. 3c.

1860   Charleston (S. Carolina) Tri-weekly Courier 24 Mar.   Miss Kate Bateman, once a child prodigy,..made her appearance last night at the Winter Garden, in an adaptation..of Longfellow's poem—‘Evangeline’.
1895   Washington Post 15 Sept. 18   Jeanne Blancard, another child prodigy..is but nine years of age, and is celebrated..for her genius in composition and piano playing.
1942   E. Blom Music in Eng. vii. 118   Field was by no means the only musical child-prodigy.
1986   Radio Times 2 Aug. 4/1   I played a brainbox child prodigy chess player.
2005   R. Nidel World Music: Basics iv. 223   Shujaat Hussain Khan was a child prodigy who began playing on a small sitar at age 3.

1860—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child protection   n. the protection of children, esp. by social or legal agencies, from danger or abuse of various kinds; frequently attributive.

1893   Methodist Mag. Dec. (end matter)   Children's Protection Act of Ontario. Hon. J. M. Gibson, Provincial Secretary... Child Protection in Ontario. Rev. J. E. Starr, Secretary Children's Aid Society.
1894   Zion's Herald 24 Jan. 27/3   Hon. J. M. Gibson, provincial secretary, has an article on the ‘Child Protection Act in Ontario’.
1931   Times Lit. Suppl. 18 Mar. 90/2   In the matter of child protection our legislators are still..beginners.
1986   L. Gordon in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley What is Feminism? 64   Nineteenth-century child protection agents saw themselves as para-legal, punishing specific offences, protecting children from specific dangers.
1994   Fortean Times Oct. 36/1   In cases of child protection, they are blamed for acting too quickly, or too late; for not co-operating with other services, [etc.].
2009   Independent 2 Jan. 5/5   He was not the subject of a child protection plan—what was formerly the ‘at-risk register’.

1893—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child psychiatrist   n. a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children.

1925   Boston Sunday Globe 1 Feb. b4/2   Montaigne..gave sage suggestions that the modern child psychiatrists are only now trying to apply.
1928   Salt Lake Tribune 19 Aug. (Mag. section) 5/2   Dr. Leslie B. Hohmans, noted child psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, made a study of all the circumstances.
1986   D. Shields Dead Lang. (1990) vi. 44   Mother..said if I pestered her any more she was going to refer me to a child psychiatrist.
2013   Guardian (Nexis) 13 June (International section) 22   Every toy developed by the manufacturer was tested by a range of children, and child psychiatrists, parents and teachers were also consulted.

1925—2013(Hide quotations)

 

  child psychiatry   n. the branch of psychiatry dealing with the treatment of children.

1925   Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald 13 Dec. 22/5   Dr William Healy of Boston medical director of the Judge Baker Foundation and authority of child psychiatry.
1962   Lancet 5 May 959/2   Proposals..to set up a child-psychiatry clinic entirely within the hospital system.
2011   K. T. Kalikow Kids on Meds xiv. 314   Most medicines used in child psychiatry are taken for at least the better part of a year.

1925—2011(Hide quotations)

 

  child psychologist   n. an expert in or student of child psychology.

1892   Spectator 12 Mar. 376/2   It is one of the best studies that have ever appeared of that greatest of child-psychologists.
1924   R. M. Ogden tr. K. Koffka Growth of Mind 3   The child-psychologist can follow the growth of a human being.
2008   Esquire Mar. 155/2   Some child psychologists and criminologists are predicting that this surge in extreme violence is just a taste of things to come.

1892—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  child psychology   n. the systematic study of the psychology of children.

1887   Science 13 May 460/1   M. Bernard Perey, whose books on infant and child psychology have been so successful, is at work on another of the same character, entitled ‘La petite fille’.
1924   R. M. Ogden tr. K. Koffka Growth of Mind 3   Principles of child-psychology.
1941   ‘R. Crompton’ William does his Bit x. 232   Mrs. Dayford was a self-styled expert on Child Psychology.
1967   B. Russell Autobiogr. I. ii. 38   I remember a very definite change when I reached what in modern child psychology is called the ‘latency period’.
2009   Irish News (Nexis) 16 Feb. 25   Problems were solved instinctively with a simple wisdom not to be found in any child psychology manual.

1887—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  child-queller   n. now rare  (a) a person who kills children (obsolete);  (b) (humorous) a person who deals severely with children.

?1518   Cocke Lorelles Bote sig. B.vjv   Mortherers, Crakers, facers and chylderne quellers.
1846   Dickens Dombey & Son (1848) viii. 72   The Castle of this ogress and child-queller was in a steep bye-street.
1930   E. Wingfield-Stratford Those Earnest Victorians ix. 82   Mr. Mill must be admitted to have fallen a good deal short of Mr. Fairchild as a child-queller, though his children..seem to have suffered in health under his ministrations.

?1518—1930(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-rearing n. the process of bringing up a child or children.

1842   Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.) 4 Apr.   This nation has a practice of modifying the form of the head during child-rearing.
1918   Christensen's Ragtime Rev. Jan. 20/4   Gladys' ideas on child rearing had gone to smash long ago.
1968   Brit. Jrnl. Psychiatry 114 581/1   The mother's..manner of relating the nature of the child's symptoms provides a valuable opportunity to assess maternal attitudes and, more inferentially, child rearing practices.
2007   L. Kleypas Mine till Midnight x. 133   Most women of the countess's exalted position wouldn't see their own offspring more than once or twice a day, leaving the majority of child-rearing to the nanny.

1842—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  child restraint   n. orig. U.S. a seat belt or safety seat designed to protect children in a motor vehicle.

1967   Wall St. Jrnl. 11 May 32/3   Chrysler said it was also investigating a child-restraint system.
1976   National Observer (U.S.) 5 June 9/1   The study recommended that children be restrained by a seat belt or specially designed child-restraint system while traveling.
1991   What Car? Apr. 29/2   Children under 14 travelling in the rear seat must also wear seatbelts or child restraints, where fitted and available for use.
2004   Which? July 35/3   Remember, though, no matter how high a car's Euro NCAP rating for child protection, it's always safer to use a child restraint than to use nothing at all.

1967—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-ridden adj. afflicted with or oppressed by children.

1843   B. Bradshawe Man Without Head II. iv. 71   Away went this weak and child-ridden woman, to argue against her better reason with her husband.
1870   R. Broughton Red as Rose I. 254   The Felton curate's fat childridden wife.
1962   Life 10 Aug. 62/1   The child-ridden parents are often no help—letting themselves be stampeded.
2008   Guardian (Nexis) 17 Apr. 36   While Lindsey Coulson conveys all the quiet, pinafored despair of her child-ridden neighbour.

1843—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

child-rider   n. Obsolete a child servant; cf. sense 6.

1665   in J. Y. Akerman Moneys Secret Services Charles II & James II (1851) Pref. p. vi, (table)    Footmen 24,..Childryders 4,..Falconers 12.

1665—1665(Hide quotations)

 

child-rites   n. Christian Church Obsolete the rites connected with the baptism of children.

?1624   G. Chapman tr. Hymn to Apollo in tr. Crowne Homers Wks. 26   Euery feeble chaine, of earthy Child-rights; flew in sunder, all.
1823   C. Lamb Elia   An Anabaptist minister conforming to the child-rites of the Church.

?1624—1823(Hide quotations)

 

  child seat   n. a small seat for a child, now esp. a protective one fitted to a motor vehicle or bicycle; cf. car seat n.

1842   Daily Atlas (Boston, Mass.) 9 July (advt.)    A superior new Buggey, with child seat, drab lined, built of the best of materials.
1886   St. Louis Globe-Democrat 12 Dec. 20/7 (advt.)    For sale—Six buggies, barouches, phaetons, storm-wagons and child-seat surrey.
1950   Chron.-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) 2 Aug. 13/3   These child seats are mounted on a curving platform some four feet high, making it an enjoyable and simple matter for the young patrons to be fitted for shoes.
1952   Republican-Courier (Findlay, Ohio) 28 May 3/4   A patented child-seat will minimize injuries in event of collision.
1996   Cycle Touring & Campaigning Apr. 20/1   Cycles now come in all shapes and sizes—tandems, recumbents, trailer bikes, hand-cranked cycles, trikes, cycles pulling trailers, cycles with child seats, cycles that incorporate wheelchairs.
2002   Which? Mar. 20/2   Special sensors designed automatically to deactivate the front passenger airbag if any child seat, including a rearward-facing one, is put on the passenger seat.

1842—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-size adj. of the size of a child; of a size suitable for a child.

1897   Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) 9 Nov. 10/2 (advt.)    Lilliputian to child-size dolls.
1944   Pop. Sci. Monthly Aug. 165/1   If your little girl has reached the age where she objects to using juvenile furniture, her child-size bureau may be made over into this young lady's vanity table.
2009   Church Times 7 Aug. 32/3   He is wispy, child-size, faintly breathing through a mask.

1897—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child-sized   adj. = child-size adj.

1899   Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) 26 Mar. 12/6   Percy..ordered a pork tenderloin and a child sized piece of mince pie.
1946   Amer. Jrnl. Nursing 46 455/2   Children must have comfort during meals... Eating utensils are to be child-sized.
2007   Collect It! Jan. 51/2   Encouragement for small gardeners came in the shape of child-sized garden tools and watering cans.

1899—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child spacing   n. the action or practice of planning the intervals between the births of children in a family.

1932   Times of India 25 Apr. 14/3   There must be proper ‘child-spacing’ and the number of children in a family should be in proportion to the earnings of the father.
1969   ETC. June 152   Today with child-spacing an almost universal practice and all sorts of electrical appliances in the home, babies and housework need not be a full-time occupation.
2012   J. M. Twenge Impatient Woman's Guide to getting Pregnant (2016) i. 33   If you already have one or more young children and you're thinking about getting pregnant again, you're probably giving a lot of thought to child spacing.

1932—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child star   n. a celebrated or famous child actor.

1886   Weekly Wisconsin (Milwaukee) 6 Nov. 7/3   Miss Helen Dauvray, the actress, made her fortune by investing in mining stocks the savings from her salary as a ‘child star’ in California.
1936   P. G. Wodehouse Laughing Gas vii. 77   Have you ever had to look after a sassy, swollen-headed, wisecracking child star?
2004   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 1 Mar. b7/1   [She] comes across as a micromanaged child star who goes on to become a drunk, a mother, a Hollywood habitué and a respectable actress.

1886—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  child study   n. the systematic study of children and their behaviour, development, etc.

1845   S. W. Fisher Supremacy of Mind 55   To train students for a new profession, that of child study expert.
1899   W. James Talks to Teachers i. 14   I know that child-study, and other pieces of psychology as well, have been productive of bad conscience in many a really innocent pedagogic breast.
1909   Daily Chron. 18 Nov. 7/2   There are those who urge a rather plausible plea in these child-study days for a little wholesome neglect.
1998   J. Grant Raising Baby by Bk. ii. 52   Magazine articles ridiculed mothers who, heeding the dictates of child study, allowed children to turn their houses upside down.

1845—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  child support n. the financial support of children; payments made for the maintenance of a child or children, esp. those legally mandated from an absent parent.

1913   San Francisco Chron. 3 May 20/6 (heading)    ‘Child-support’ law interpreted.
1929   Belleville (Kansas) Telescope 7 Nov. 1/7   Bessie Smock was granted a divorce..and $25 per month for child support was granted plaintiff.
1965   N. Cassady Let. 3 Sept. (2005) 449   I've been offered a hundred & a quarter a week truckdriving job there..& ya know damn well how much back child support I owe—almost $1,600 now.
2009   Independent 21 Sept. 28/4   Over 90 per cent of fathers had stopped paying child support a year after divorce.

1913—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  Child Support Agency   n. (also with lower-case initials) an agency responsible for the assessment and, where necessary, the collection of compulsory child maintenance payments from absent parents (the official name of a central government agency in Australia and formerly in the United Kingdom); abbreviated CSA.

[1953   Abilene (Texas) Reporter News 7 Apr. 9 a/3 (headline)    Child Support Pay Agency Plan OKd.]
1973   Fitchburg (Mass.) Sentinel 22 May 2/5 (headline)    Child Support Agency ‘Outstanding’.
1988   Canberra Times 21 Apr. 10/4   Maintenance payments will be automatically deducted by the employer from the non-custodial parent's pay and paid to the new Child Support Agency.
1990   Children come First in Parl. Papers 1989–90 (Cmnd. 1264) I. p. ii   A Child Support Agency will be created. It will have responsibilities for the assessment, review, collection and enforcement of maintenance payments.
2006   Sunday Herald (Glasgow) 30 July (Seven Days section) 3/1   When whatever body succeeds the Child Support Agency tries to chivvy a single mum out of a few quid of benefit.

1973—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child trafficker   n. a person engaged in child trafficking.

1976   Lawrence (Kansas) Daily Jrnl.-World 16 Apr. 11/1   There..seems to be a ‘loosely connected organization of child traffickers cooperating with each other in transporting babies across state lines’.
1993   Rotarian Sept. 25/1   Child traffickers lure many children into prostitution and pornography.
2013   Washingtonian (Nexis) 28 May 179   These areas are home to low-end apartment complexes targeted by child traffickers.

1976—2013(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child trafficking   n. trade in or procurement of children for the purposes of exploitation; the action or practice of illicitly, forcibly, or fraudulently relocating children from one country or area to another, typically in order to exploit them for forced labour, prostitution, etc.; cf. human trafficking n. at human adj. and n. Special uses 2.

1887   Manitoba Daily Free Press 16 Aug.   The investigating committee appointed by the White Cross guild to inquire into the charges of child trafficking and juvenile prostitution.
1982   Associated Press Newswire (Nexis) 16 Nov.   About 3,000 children..were smuggled into Hong Kong since October 1981 when the first child trafficking case was discovered.
2010   New Yorker 10 May 50/3   In Haiti.., a culturally accepted form of child trafficking already exists. Some poor parents sell the children to affluent Haitians as indentured servants.

1887—2010(Hide quotations)

 

  child welfare   n. the welfare of children; cf. welfare n. 4.

1907   Publ. Amer. Statist. Assoc. 10 288   The answers would help secure an increase..in general attention to child welfare.
1958   New Statesman 20 Dec. 877/1   Intelligence testing, for example, grew to its present stature because its value was recognised in the world of education and child welfare.
2001   N.Y. Mag. 24 Sept. 56/1   He is so zealous about child welfare you'd think there was money in it.

1907—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child within   n. = inner child n.

[1950   Public Opinion Q. 14 480   Animistic representations in advertisements are certain to receive immediate attention since they appeal to the child within ourselves.]
1956   H. Guntrip Mental Pain & Cure of Souls x. 146   All patients..dread a type of treatment based on the uncovering and drawing back to consciousness of the timid child within.
1983   19th-cent. Fiction 37 519   The ghost child whom the adult narrator encounters..is also..a resurrection of an ever-present child within.
1991   U. Markham Your Four Point Plan for Life (BNC) 73   If our parents..gave in to our tantrums, our child within will probably manifest itself in a negative, rather than a positive, fashion.
2000   Big Issue 20 Mar. 9/5   As the daughter of hippy parents..she doesn't give up the ‘child within’ without a fight.

1956—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  child-woman   n. †a young female servant (cf. sense 6) (obsolete); a girl; a woman who is still a child.

a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Judith xiii. 5   Judit seide to hir child womman [a1425 L.V. damesele].
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Esther iv. 4   The childer wymmen of Ester.
 
1862   E. Bulwer-Lytton Strange Story II. xxv. 177   The child-woman in the child-world.
2004   Daily Tel. 4 Mar. 23/2   With her gamine face and tiny, long-legged body, Ananiashvili still seems, at almost 40, a child-woman.

a1382—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  child worker   n.  (a) a child employed as a worker;  (b) an adult who works with children.

1842   Population Stockport: Copy Evid.& Rep. 122 in Parl. Papers (H.C. 158) XXXV. 158   One child worker in factory, earns 6s. 8d.
1904   Polit. Sci. Q. 19 418   This typical street worker [sc. the newsboy] was ignored in all the state laws which protect other child workers.
1947   Amer. Jrnl. Nursing 47 216/1   Part of every child worker's task is to help the child live fully, regardless of whether he is at home, at school, in the clinic, or in the hospital.
1998   Guardian 4 June 6/8   Any child-worker who is accused of inappropriate behaviour with children is asked to stop working while the allegation is investigated.
2012   K. Bales Disposable People vii. 241   Producers had to agree..to turn over 1 percent of the carpet wholesale price to a welfare fund for child workers.

1842—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 C2. Compound's with child's.
 

child's bed   n. Obsolete the womb; = childbed n. 3.

1535   Bible (Coverdale) 2 Esdras iv. 40   Yf hir childeszbed maye kepe ye byrth eny longer within her.

1535—1535(Hide quotations)

 

  child's-eye view   n.  [after bird's-eye view at bird's-eye n. and adj. 3] a view, picture, or opinion, such as that which a child may have.

1931   Indiana (Pa.) Evening Gaz. 16 July 8/2   A child's eye view of how it feels to be one of the more than 30,000 children of the State in the care of foster homes.
1959   Birmingham Mail 29 May 4/6   The serious-minded parents could no longer ignore the child's-eye view of the family world.
2010   N.Y. Mag. 23 Aug. 64/3   The feathers and the sequins of figure skating are..a child's-eye view of glamour.

1931—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 C3. Compounds with children's.
 a.
 

 (a) attributive, with the sense ‘of, relating to, or for children’, as children's author, children's charity, children's entertainer, children's fiction, children's programme , children's ward, etc.Some of the more established compounds of this type are entered separately at Compounds 3a(b).

1519   W. Horman Vulgaria vii. f. 77   Many be occupyed vncomly, and vnaccordynglye about childrens maters.
1579   in Mariner's Mirror (1966) 52 292   4½ gross rander gloves, 35 doz. pinnes, 900 ells cushen canvas and 6 doz. children's daggers.
1642   Inventory 14 Nov. in Great Reclothing Rural Eng. (1984) 189   Elfin-blades 2s, a dozen childrens gloves 16d.
1654   R. Whitlock Ζωοτομία 161   Steeple houses (as Churches are styled in our new Childrens Dictionary).
1786   T. Baldwin Airopaidia iii. 16   The Shape of an inverted Cone, or Children's Top.
1831   G. Henson Civil Hist. Framework-knitters iv. 224   The stationers..formerly enjoyed the exclusive right to print and sell almanacks, children's alphabets, psalm books, [etc.].
1845   Medico-chirurg. Rev., & Jrnl. Pract. Med. 47 211   Sixteen cases were admitted into the children's ward.
1894   H. Butterworth Zigzag Journeys White City xii. 282   Mrs. Bates' own room was filled with portraits of children's authors.
1899   Charities Rev. Mar. 43/1   His people are sent instead..to hospitals, children's charities, societies for visiting the needy, almshouses, and homes for the aged.
1922   Home Lands June 13/1   At the morning service the children should be allowed to participate by one or more selections sung by a children's choir.
1957   Times 15 Apr. 13   A rigid sense of democracy long ago debarred nannies and maids from children's fiction.
1966   Economist 3 Dec. 1002/1   The Chancellor should increase children's allowances for large, relatively poor families.
1978   J. Wain Pardoner's Tale vii. 203   She's in a group that does children's theatre.
1991   Incentive Today Oct. 5 (advt.)    Ladieswear, Menswear, Childrenswear and Interiors.
1992   I. Banks Crow Road iii. 72   The tin-whistle pretend language from one of the children's programmes we'd all watched as youngsters.
2008   Independent 29 July 31/1   He looked like a children's entertainer who'd fallen on hard times.

1519—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 (b)
 

  children's book   n.

?1750   M. Allison, Bookseller in Falmouth (advt.) 1/2   Childrens Books of all sorts.
1896   Bookseller 4 June 565/1   A delightful children's book, in which the various discoveries in Egyptian antiquity are most amusingly parodied in the well-known style of the original Struwwelpeter.
1966   ALA Bull. 60 40/2   I reread Uncle Tom's Cabin, and by no stretch of the imagination can I see how its plot or plots could be made acceptable for a children's book.
2006   Peak District Life Spring 70/1   Kenneth Grahame's captivating children's book, The Wind in the Willows.

?1750—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  children's hospital   n.

1752   tr. Declar. Queen of Sweden in J. T. Philipps Fund. Laws Potent Kingdoms 67   We also religiously promise to take Care of the Revenues of Churches, Universities, Colleges, Schools, Hospitals, and especially the Childrens-Hospital at Stockholm.
1835   Dublin Jrnl. Med. & Chem. Sci. 7 165   An eminent physician of the Children's Hospital has stated that few children die without pneumonia to a greater or lesser extent.
1984   A. Oakley Taking it like Woman (1985) 108   She..was scheduled for an intravenous pyelogram at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
2012   N.Y. Times 9 Sept. (Late ed.) (Metropolitan section) 16 (advt.)    One of the nation's best children's hospitals.

1752—2012(Hide quotations)

 
 

  children's literature   n.

1835   S. L. Smith Let. 14 Dec. in E. W. Hooker Mem. Sarah Lanman Smith (1839) x. 200   It is a painful thought to us, that children's literature, if I may so term it, is incompatible with the genius of this language.
1907   A.L.A. Booklist 3 22   Interesting to the occasional child who fancies quaint tales, and to all students of children's literature.
2008   Independent 18 Apr. 9/1   The test of all great children's literature is its ability to resonate with adults as well as its younger readers.

1835—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 b.
 

  children's home   n. a residential institution for children who are orphaned, abandoned, or otherwise vulnerable.

1839   Church of Eng. Mag. 26 Oct. 272/1   Chaplain to the Children's Homes, Norwood, Tooting, and Brixton.
1880   Jrnl. Statist. Soc. London 43 233   The judgment of the family system pronounced by the Managers of the Children's Home in the Bonner Road.
1948   A. C. Kinsey et al. Sexual Behavior Human Male x. 387   The moves to have such ‘neglected’ children taken away from their parents and made wards of the court, for placement in other families or in children's homes or in juvenile disciplinary institutions.
1976   Scotsman 24 Dec. 13/1 (advt.)    Retiral collection in aid of children's homes.
2001   B. Broady In this Block there lives Slag 96   He was doomed: The Mirpuri rastas shunned him now—he was reduced to running with the kids from the children's home.

1839—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  children's hour   n. now hist. an hour of recreation in the evening, spent by children with their parents; (also, with capital initials) the title of a BBC radio programme (first broadcast 1922, discontinued 1961).

1853   ‘H. Trusta’ Last Leaf from Sunny Side 86   That hour was as dear to her as a Sabbath hour. It was called in the family dialect, ‘The children's hour.’
1863   H. W. Longfellow Children's Hour i, in Tales Wayside Inn 209   Between the dark and the daylight..Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour.
1923   Radio Times 12 Oct. 89/3   The Children's Hour: (a) Games and Pastimes; (b) Children's News.
1937   ‘E. M. Delafield’ Ladies & Gentlemen in Victorian Fiction 14   The children..live in the society of their parents. What was once known as the children's hour now extends handsomely into the twenty-four.
1964   M. Laski in S. Nowell-Smith Edwardian Eng. iv. 199   The institution of the ‘children's hour’ between afternoon tea and dressing for dinner.

1853—1964(Hide quotations)

 
 

  Children's Laureate   n. (also with lower-case initials) (a title awarded to) an eminent writer or illustrator of books for children.In the United Kingdom a Children's Laureate has been appointed every two years since 1999.

1870   Church Chron. 1 Mar. 132/2   Mr. Barr, the children's laureate, as he may fairly be termed, has given us in this volume some happy thoughts, set in pleasant rhymes.
1979   Victorian Periodicals Rev. 12 143   A witty account of the life, work, and times of the ‘children's laureate’ [sc. Eugene Field].
1999   Times 11 May 38   The Princess Royal appointed the illustrator and writer Quentin Blake as our first Children's Laureate.
2013   Derry Jrnl. (Nexis) 28 Mar.   Australia's two inaugural Children's Laureates stop off at Verbal Arts Centre..during their first visit to Ireland.

1870—2013(Hide quotations)

 
 

  children's menu   n. a menu designed for children; esp. one in a restaurant or cafe, offering a different choice of food, smaller portions, etc.

1881   M. André (title)    The children's menu; dished up by André to suit all tastes.
1896   N.Y. Times 12 July 29/2   The following table..may be pasted in the back of the housekeeper's cook book, and if often referred to will be found profitable, especially in planning for children's menus.
1925   Times 25 Nov. 11 (advt.)    Cracker teas in restaurant. Special Children's Menu.
2010   S. R. White Soft Place to Land 16   Naomi..told him Julia was absolutely too old to order off the children's menu.

1881—2010(Hide quotations)

 

  children's rights   n. the human or legal rights of children, spec. the rights of children to humane treatment, appropriate living conditions, health care, education, etc.

1817   Fairburn's Edit. xxiii. 360   Happily has the struggle, which affected not only you, but your children, and your children's children's rights and liberties, terminated.
1944   Massachusetts Rep. (Lexis) 313 223   And in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, children's rights to receive teaching in languages other than the nation's common tongue were guarded against the state's encroachment.
1971   Ink 12 June 11/4   Children's Rights Day: Action Space with inflatables and events.
1992   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 5 Mar. 4/2   Ms. Clinton's role as an activist for children's rights took on a new urgency in Arkansas, a state whose backward educational system has limited its citizens' future.

1817—1992(Hide quotations)

 

Derivatives

 

childward adj. Obsolete rare directed towards children.

1847   Tennyson Princess vii. 156   She [must gain] mental breadth, nor fail in childward care.
1894   F. Fenwick Miller in Woman's Signal 4 Jan. 4/3   To be presumed to have no taste in feminine matters, no capacity for dressing well, no ability for housekeeping, no childward tenderness.

1847—1894(Hide quotations)

 

This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2013).

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