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.
Heo þa gelyfde his wordum & wearð mid cylde.
He wes lute chilt þoa he hit wrachte.
Owl & Nightingale
Hwat mai þat chil [a1300 Jesus Oxf. child] þah hit misfonge.
R. Mannyng Handlyng Synne
Ȝyf a chulde be dede bore.
Þe toþer was a chilld [a1400 Fairf. childe] broght Vnto þe yate o þat cite.
1423 in H. Nicolas Proc. & Ordinances Privy Council
Ye nessessary þynges..for ye schyldern of the schapel..every schyld j gowne & j hode.
c1450 J. Capgrave Life St. Katherine
i. l. 239
Thus was it norysshed, this noble goodly chield.
1545 in W. Fraser Douglas Bk.
Man, veymen, and chaylde.
1568 in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS
The bludy sicht gart hir pairt wt quick chyild.
1641 Lady B. Harley Let. 22 May
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
The child is very promising; he is but six years, and he hath the questions very weel.
1794 R. B. Sheridan Duenna
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
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 2.
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.
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.
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
Cusins parenz, Isibba child.
Rule St. Benet
Be ricere manna cilde [L. de filiabus nobilium] odð unrichi hu me sceall hi underfon.
Rule St. Benet
Ða child [OE Corpus Cambr. þa cild] & þeo ȝeoȝad mid styre & þeowfæstnesse hyre endebyrdnesse filian.
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 ).
OE (Northumbrian) Lindisf. Gospels: Matt. xix. 13
Tunc oblati sunt ei paruoli : ða gebroht werun him lytla cnæhtas uel cildas.
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.
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
Forðæm ge sint giet cilderu on eowrum geleafan, ðy ic sceal sellan eow giet mioloc drincan.
OE Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser.
Cildru behofiað swiðlicere steore and godre gymene to godum ðeawum.
OE Ælfric's Colloquy
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
1st Ser. 73
Þa weren monie childre dede fulhtles, & forlorne.
Childre [c1300 Otho children] swiðe hendi.
Gen. & Exod.
Fader and breðere and childre and wif.
Psalms cxii. 1
Preise, ȝee childer, the Lord.
Toward him com childir thre.
tr. R. Higden Polychron.
Techenge the childre.
1539 C. Tunstall Serm. Palme Sondaye
Besydes women and chylder.
c1550 Complaynt Scotl.
His propir childir.
W. Stewart tr. H. Boece Bk. Cron. Scotl.
All ȝoung childer sould rudlie nureist be In meit and drink.
1737 J. Ray Let. 16 Dec. in Amer. Weekly Mercury
5–12 Oct. 1/1
I shall rejoyce exceedingly, to see you and her hear wee yer Childer.
a1774 R. Fergusson Poems
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
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
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).
in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies
Ðæt cydde þe casere þam kynge Archelau, þæs Herodis sune þe þa childræn acwalde.
Latin-Old Eng. Gloss.
in Eng. Stud.
MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies
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.
An of þissen children [c1300 Otho childrene].
c1300 Life & Martyrdom Thomas Becket
Chron. Robert of Gloucester
Þer ne bileuede of hor children [c1425 Harl. chyldryn] aliue bote on.
1484 Rolls of Parl.: Richard III
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.
That the number of Godis schildreng may growe in ruhteousnes.
a1736 in R. A. Hay Geneal. Sainteclaires
The king being altogither preveened by the Earle of Melford, against her and her childering.
1824 in N. E. Eliason Tarheel Talk
[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.
[Þe]os swikes gonne ride hom in-to Rome, and ȝarkede hire ȝiftes and alle hire childres [c1275 Calig. ȝisles].
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
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. b.
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.
[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.
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 and 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
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.
Þu fulfremedest lof of cilda & of sacerda muþe.
Childre [Scribe B childrene] scole.
a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron.
(St. John's Cambr.)
Leste in his elde he schulde falle into children [L. juvenum] hond.
Þar childer [Trin. Cambr. childre] liues.
?a1425 Constit. Masonry
(Royal 17 A.i)
l. 8 in J. O. Halliwell Early Hist. Freemasonry in Eng.
For these chyldryn sake.
l. 813 in Publ. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer.
Deed were alle þe childirs fone.
1495 Trevisa's Bartholomeus De Proprietatibus Rerum
vii. x. sig. oviii/1
Also it [sc. epilepsy] hyght childrens euyl [a1398 BL Add. children yuel].
Tournam. of Tottenham
It was no childer gamme.
1552 Bk. Common Prayer
Matrymonye sig. P.viii
Theyr chyldrens [1549 childers] children.
1578 Gude & Godlie Ballates
Thy childeris children thow sall se.
1606 J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Deuine Weekes & Wks.
ii. iii. 118
What Childre-spell? what May-game have we here?
Matt. xv. 26
The childrens bread [1750 children's].
a1704 J. Gother Sincere Christian's Guide
They deceive themselves, and..play seriously at Childrens Game.
a1774 R. Fergusson Poems
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
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.
Frequency (in current use):
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Cognate with Gothic kilþei
pregnant woman, probably < the same Indo-European base as (with a different root extension) Gothic kalbo
and classical Latin glēba
Perhaps compare also Sanskrit jaṭhara
belly, womb, although its origin is uncertain and disputed.
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 ) and Old Swedish kulder
), Old Danish kuldær
, 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 ) < the same Indo-European base as classical Latin gent-
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
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
In Old English strong plural stem forms with final -r
of the type characteristic of the former Indo-European neuter es
-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
, 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 ,
(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 , , and also ,
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 ), 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 ). 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 /eː/
(see further discussion at , 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
) 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.
Development of specific senses.
With the occasional early contextual use in senses
with reference specifically to male infants and children compare the development of senses , , , and . In biblical use in sense
after the post-classical Latin (Vulgate) use of classical Latin puer
boy (see ), translating Hebrew yĕleḏ
boy, adolescent, son, also (less frequently) child of either sex. In early use in sense
frequently with reference to young monks and oblates, who attended the monastery school and also acted as choristers (compare quot. ).
after Xhosa abantwana
and its cognate Zulu abantwana
plural class prefix + -ntwana
child, someone who is younger by comparison with others).
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 , .
compare , ,
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
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
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 , although other interpretations such as ‘sons, heirs’ (compare sense ) or ‘young men’ (compare senses , ) are also possible. Occasional examples from former Danelaw counties show that in these areas the initial affricate /tʃ/
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
1275 in a copy of a mid 11th-cent. will). See further Vocab. Eng. Place-names
With reference to state or age.
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.
iii. iii. 69
A very pretty barne; A boy, or a Childe I wonder?
Child,..4. A girl child.
1775 J. Ash
Child, an infant—a son or daughter..a female infant.
c1780 MS Gloss. Devonshire in J. O. Halliwell
Child, a female infant.
1876 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
Chiel, a female infant... Well, what is it thee-as time, a chiel or a bwoy?
1934 W. W. Gill II. 32
Is it a boy or a child?
1950 I. Waters 11
So Mrs. Smith's got a new baby... Is it a boy or a child?
1979 N. Rogers 75/1
Child, still used in its old sense of ‘girl’, and pronounced cheel.
1995 P. O'Keeffe 15
‘What is it?’ I said as I turned to follow her. ‘A child,’ she said, ‘another little girl, God bless and preserve her.’
†b. A young man; a youth, an adolescent. Obsolete (rare after 16th cent. except in biblical use). Cf. .In plural occasionally: young persons of either sex (cf. quots. , ).
l. 285 (MED)
Þreo children þe chearre nalden from þe lahen..Ananie & Azarie & Misahel inempnet.
Þa þis child was feir muche þa luuede he a maide.
c1300 St. Thomas Becket
l. 217 in C. Horstmann
Þo þis child was bet in elde and of to and twenti ȝer.
c1330 Horn Child l. 310 in J. Hall
Loued neuer childer mare, Bot tristrem or ysoud it ware.
Gen. xxxvii. 30
Ruben torned aȝeyn to þe systern: fond not þe chylde [i.e. Joseph aged 17; L. puerum].
A murye child he was..Wel koude he laten blood and clippe and shaue.
Well wende he [sc. Narcissus] the forme see Of a child of gret beaute.
St. Martha l. 128 in W. M. Metcalfe
Rayse this chyld [= a ȝunge mane], þat al ma se!
a1500 Disciplina Clericalis in
22 37 (MED)
This yong man with greate labour of his body lived..This chield had a neighburgh [etc.].
1563 N. Winȝet
Quhy admit ȝe to be ȝour precheouris..ȝoung childring of na eruditioun.
1611 Dan. i. 17
As for these foure children [Heb. yĕlāḏīm], God gaue them knowledge and skil.
c1626 H. Bisset
This Clement..ordaned bischopin of childring..ony time eftir thair pupularie or maioritie.
1762 G. Sharpe 34
In our translation it is said..of the young men of Bethel that they were children.
c. More generally: any man without reference to age; a lad, fellow, chap. Frequently used contemptuously or affectionately. Cf. . Now Scottish regional.
1551 R. Robinson tr. T. More sig. Oii
The false & malicious circumuertions of craftie chyldren.
1575 J. Awdely
A Curtesy man..This child can behaue him selfe manerly.
1596 J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie
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
Lat thea childer want the heidis, which sall make yow quite of thair cummer.
1638 Earl of Strafford 28 July
They [sc. the Scots] are shrewd Children, not won much by Courtship.
1732 J. Hutchinson 147
What a forward Child he was, who in a Year and a half, formed this mighty Work.
1934 ‘L. G. Gibbon’ 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 67
Now the master must have been a right brave childe, and he didna take kindly at all to Death walking round scaring folk.
b. spec. A boy chorister.The name is still retained at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace.
OE Regularis Concordia
Æfter þysum þa[m] cildon [L. pueris] þisne antifen beginnendum, Pueri Hebreorum, syn þa palmtwiga todælede.
Demum pueri dexteriores [read dexterioris] chori repetant quę supra, eodem modo : þænne nehst cild swiþran chores edlæcean þa ufran þam sylfan gemete.
He Alma redemptoris herde synge As children lerned hir Antiphoner.
1492 in S. Tymms
Item euery chylde wt a surplyce j d.
Gentyllmen and Childryn of the Chapell.
1534 in J. L. Glasscock
New surplecs for the childern.
1566 G. Turberville
(title of poem)
Epitaph on Maister Edwards, sometime Maister of the Children of the Chappell.
1603 H. Chettle
Children of the Chappell in surplesses.
The Children of the Chapel, Four a-Breast.
a1717 in E. F. Rimbault
Dr. William Croft (as Master of the Children).
1786 T. Busby at Master of Song
To teach the children of the chapel-royal to sing, and to perform the organ.
1887 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. 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.
3 Apr. 31
The choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal is composed of six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary and ten children of the Chapel.
b. As a form of address, used either contemptuously or affectionately.
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.
Se bisceop cwæð þa to him: Cum nu, leofa cild, hider mid me, forþon þe ic hæbbe sum þing digeles wið þe to specone.
D. Lindsay Hist. Squyer Meldrum l. 297 in
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 iii. ii. 410
Come recreant, come thou childe, Ile whippe thee with a rodde.
1677 A. Behn v. 80
We'l have no Vows but Love, Child, nor witness but the Lover.
1751 H. Walpole
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.
Good Lord! how magnanimous! I fear Child thou'rt drunk.
1850 Tennyson vi. 7
Poor child, that waitest for thy love!
1850 Tennyson lxvii. 94
They call'd me fool, they call'd me child .
1950 D. Cusack Morning Sacrifice in ii. ii. 232
Child, are you so blind to responsibilities?
2001 K. Roberts 328
‘Come, child, let's go to my place and have a cup of tea’.
As correlative to parent.
b. The young of an animal. Now rare.
Þe elifans nele naȝt wonye mid his wyue þerhuyle þet hi is mid childe.
c1450 MS Douce 52 in
Childe is pigge, and fader is the flicche.
1590 Spenser i. vi. sig. F3
A Lyonesse.., did lowd requere Her children deare.
1697 Dryden tr. Virgil Georgics iv, in tr. Virgil 145
Her Children gone, The Mother Nightingale laments.
1757 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
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
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 ii. 206
It was their pullet's hope of chick and childer, their dream of love and spring song.
. Expressing origin, association, natural relation, or characteristic: the offspring or product of
a particular place, time, event, circumstance, influence, etc.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
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
What children of good werkis þou schalt brynge forþ..þei schulen be to vs children of purchace legal and leful and no bastard braunchis.
(Bodl. e Mus.)
f. 56 (MED)
Howe the philosophers childe in the aire is borne.
1597 Shakespeare i. iv. 97
Dreames, Which are the Children of an idle braine.
iv. iii. 116
This Noble passion Childe of integrity.
1661 O. Felltham
When Mischief is the child of Mirth.
1704 Swift Full Acct. Battel between Bks. in 229
War is the Child of Pride, and Pride the Daughter of Riches.
1738 Swift p. xl
Oaths are the Children of Fashion, they are in some sense almost Annuals.
1827 B. Disraeli III. v. i. 13
Experience is the child of Thought.
1847 Tennyson iii. 56
Baser courses, children of despair.
1918 W. G. Bleyer 114
The Associated Press is the child of the first effort at cooperative news-gathering ever made.
1998 2 Jan. 37/2
Genome informatics is a child of the information age, a status that brings clear advantages and new hurdles.
P1. with child
a. Pregnant. Hence to get with child , to go with child . Cf. .
Heo þa gelyfde his wordum & wearð mid cylde.
Be þam men ic eom mid cylde, ðe þysne hring ah.]
Þe mayde was wid childe[c1275 Calig. Þeo wimon was mid childe].
c1325 in G. L. Brook
Whet sorewe hit is wiþ childe gon.
Agar was made wit child.
ccxlviii. sig. u8
She said that she was with childe.
a1525 G. Myll Spectakle of Luf in W. A. Craigie
With quhom he conversit sa that scho wox with child.
1530 J. Palsgrave 562/2
I get a wenche with chylde, je engrosse.
1600 Shakespeare v. iv. 9
And the child I go with do miscarry.
i. ii. 71
For getting Madam Iulietta with childe .
1651 Bp. J. Taylor
Women great with child.
1701 G. Farquhar 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
Sylvia being soon after got with child.
1765 J. Memis iii. i. 197
If a miscarriage happens when a woman has been long gone with child..the danger is great.
1864 Tennyson 518
Such doubts and fears were common to her state, Being with child.
1896 25 202
If his wife is with child, he will not enter the mud pits.
1933 ‘N. West’ 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 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.
†b. In extended use, of ground, trees, ships with swelling sails, etc. Obsolete.
?1440 tr. Palladius
i. l. 70
With risshis, reed, gras..also go hit [sc. good land] with childe.
1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach ii. f. 105
In the spring, all trees are as it were with childe.
1606 Marlowe & G. Chapman iii
All her fleet of spirits came swelling in, With child of Sail.
1664 J. Chandler tr. J. B. van Helmont xxiv. 184
It is water impregnated or got with childe of a sharp volatile salt.
(a) Full (of a thing) so as to be ready to burst; teeming; = ;
(b) eager, longing, yearning (to do something).Now only in historical contexts.
1548 N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus I. Luke xxiii. f. 8
The man had of long tyme been with chylde to haue a sight of Iesus.
1590 Spenser i. v. sig. D7v
The noble hart, that..is with childe of glorious great intent.
1594 R. Carew tr. Tasso v. 225
Their countnance mery, and their eyes with child Of ioy.
1606 G. Chapman iv. sig. G
The Asse is great with child of some ill newes.
1660 S. Pepys 14 May
I sent my boy—who, like myself, is with child to see any strange thing.
1660 S. Pepys 9 Oct.
I went to my Lord... And saw..his picture..and am with child till I get it copyed out.
1725 N. Bailey tr. Erasmus 264
I'm with Child to hear it.
1832 J. Constable
I am with child to see Salisbury.
1970 P. O'Brian
‘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.’
P2. In proverbs and proverbial phrases. the child unborn : the type of innocence or ignorance, etc.the burnt child dreads the fire: see . children should be seen and not heard: see .
OE Ælfric Homily: De Doctrina Apostolica
in J. C. Pope
Eft cwæð sum witega, Puer centum annorum maledictus erit: Hundteontigwintre cild byð awyrged.
31 9 (MED)
I-seli child is sone ilered.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
II. xvii. clxxv. 1067
Houndes and children hateþ þe ȝerde, for þey ben þerwiþ chastysede.
Brent child of fier hath mych drede.
1545 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus
Oure common prouerbe..Chyldren, drunkers, and fooles, can not lye.
1546 J. Heywood ii. vii. sig. K
Many kysse the childe for the nurces sake.
1547 Duke of Norfolk in J. Lingard
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 sig. Biiv
As the Prouerbe is, Senex bis puer. An olde manne, twyse a chyld.
1765 L. Sterne VIII. xxviii. 124
She knows no more..of it..than the child unborn.
1827 C. Lamb Let. June in
You will have discharged your conscience, and laid the child at the right door, as they say.
1948 E. Partridge 46
The Welsh express a universal truth in ‘A child in the house is a hundred enjoyments’.
2007 49 591
Children should not be protected from self-endangerment..because only ‘the burnt child dreads the fire’.
P3. from (also †fro, †of) a child or children , †of a child little: from childhood.
2 Macc. xv. 12
Onye..whiche was excersisid..in vertues fro a chijld [L. a puero].
l. 1876 (MED)
Sho..had him noryscht of a childe.
1526 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 Prov. xxix. C
He that delicately bryngeth vp his seruaunt from a childe.
1611 2 Tim. iii. 15
From a childe [Gk. ἀπὸ βρέϕους] thou hast knowen the holy Scriptures.
1656 J. Trapp vi. 11
Coriolanus had so used his weapons of a child little.
1723 D. Defoe
Sharp as a Street bred Boy must be, but ignorant and unteachable from a Child.
1761 F. Sheridan I. 8
It was our continual practice, from children, to keep little journals.
1825 W. Hazlitt 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
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 140
‘How is young Ralph Parker,’ she asked the doctor; a kindly man she had known from a child.
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
in T. Arnold
Þis song of þes children, where we maken an opin schrift þat God is passingli blessid.]
The songe of the thre chyldren.
1611 Song Three Children
The Song of the three holy children, which followeth in the third chapter of Daniel.
1703 M. Chudleigh
Poems on several occasions. Together with the song of the three children paraphras'd.
1879 Marquis of Bute tr. 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 42
At this point the Septuagint inserts the Song of the Three Children.
2011 L. M. McDonald iv. 99
The Song of the Three Holy Children was added to Daniel.
P5. colloquial. this child: (esp. in African-American usage) oneself; I, me.Now only in historical contexts.
1839 26 Oct. 4/7
‘You knows you can' shine whar dis child is no how’.
a1848 G. F. A. Ruxton
This child has felt like going West for many a month.
1852 H. B. Stowe 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 74
From the sixties..not for this child.
1930 C. Wittke 169
De debble kotch ye, shoa! but bress de lam', he habn't kotch dis child yet!
1994 R. Hendrickson 54
Mountain men and others often called themselves ‘child’ in the early West. ‘This child's getting old.’
Compounds with child
, with the sense ‘of or relating to children’, ‘child's’, ‘children's’, or (sometimes) ‘childish’.
1860 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 xix. 101
Folk-art is merely child-art which has become adult.
1966 22 Apr. 6/5
Matchstick men—taught by adults, copied by infants—can be death to child art.
2010 G. J. Daichendt 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.
a1833 A. H. Hallam
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 21 May 4/5
My child-brain, clear and natural, could not swallow the impossibilities administered to me as facts.
1993 R. Dawkins in
It is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns.
† child-cheek n. Obsolete rare
1844 E. B. Browning Lost Bower in
The child-cheek blushing scarlet.
1906 W. D. Howells & H. M. Alden 3
The same soft glow suffuses it and the child-cheek against which it is laid.
1862 27 198
The great art in child-culture is to keep the little ones happy.
1899 M. Beerbohm
The modern system of child-culture..is the system of treating children as decoration.
1999 38 97
Messages children received from their peers differ from those received from adults. The gap between child culture and adult culture is inevitable.
1832 J. G. Whittier in C. Fiske Bates 641/1
Still memory to a gray-haired man That sweet child-face is showing.
1909 23 Dec. 2/1
A child-face glowing with more radiant happiness we have never seen.
1986 W. Gibson 177
Her pretty childface smooth as steel.
1828 37 402
What would mankind, or womankind, or childkind think.
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.
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).
1858 tr. C. F. D. Schubart in 17 July 126/1
C major, is entirely pure. Its character is that of innocence, simplicity, naïveté, child-language.
1956 R. Jakobson & M. Halle 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 46 254/2
A set of parent report inventories of child language and communication designed to yield information on the course of language development.
1853 Jan. 255/1
Child-Literature has been neglected too much by the fine gentlemen—the beaux esprits—of the literary profession.
1884 Feb. 133/2
The child-literature of the last generation.
2006 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.
1848 C. Pickering xiii. 258
I remarked among them various evidence of Persian descent, as in the custom of child marriages.
1894 F. J. Furnivall
Child-marriages, divorces, and ratifications, &c.
1933 22 Apr. 886/2
Legislation for the prevention of child marriage [in India].
2008 D. H. Gray 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 J. B. Stallo i. 144
The individual is the perennial child-man and child-mind.
1906 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 iv. 133
Such accounts are invariably those of adults looking back: the adult's view of the child mind.
1729 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
The offence of child-murder.
1951 W. Lewis iv. 159
The newspapers have been splashing it as if it were a child-murder by an erotic homicide.
2004 1 Oct. 28/2
The details of one particular case of child murder which had long since disappeared into one of history's interstices.
1840 2 249
They ground education, not upon the communicable humanity of Jesus, but upon a human and child nature.
1874 W. B. Carpenter i. viii
Teacher Ignorant of the fundamental facts of child-nature.
1913 A. Holmes 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 33 1
Rousseau was of the view that child nature was intrinsically good.
1905 3 Aug. 6/2
The modern problems of child poverty.
1986 J. Mitchell in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley 38
To compare our inner cities, and child poverty and abuse with Dickensian England, seems at first sight preposterous and vulgarly polemical.
2007 29 Oct. 36/2
I look forward to seeing how the Government boneheads will fulfil their pledge to eradicate child poverty.
1885 30 Jan.
There was a large increase of child prostitution just about the season of the Christmas pantomimes.
1961 15 46
Local committees set out to fight against such evils as child prostitution by compelling enforcement of the new legislation.
21 Jan. (Ideas section) 13
Child prostitution is a growing problem, especially in the Third World.
1794 R. Hurd Life Warburton in Bp. W. Warburton
Micah..understood the true Origin, and consequently, the right import of Child-sacrifice.
1860 E. B. Pusey 3
Baal and Ashtaroth, with all their abominations of consecrated child-sacrifices.
1923 W. Crafer 58
Some see in the whole passage a reference to child-sacrifice, as the sin directly responsible for the punishment.
2006 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.
1833 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 11 71
A harvest of child murder and child slavery.
2001 Apr. 3/1
A human rights meeting in South Africa revealed a burgeoning traffic in child slavery.
1838 D. G. Osborne
No child smile recognition in her face.
1850 E. B. Browning II. 216
To erase the child-smile from her lips.
2006 S. Virgo 61
With delight and energy, her clear eyes and child-smile discounting altogether the lascivious motions of her hips.
1841 Nov. 684/1
As they alight, the Earth, now new-born child-spirit, advances to them.
1883 H. Drummond
The condition of entrance into the spiritual kingdom is to possess the child-spirit.
1992 C. P. Estés 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.
1889 June 708
Nature and Religion recognize the sadness of child suffering.
1923 2 June 954/1
Even to the casual observer a vast amount of child suffering is apparent.
2003 49 207
Even in relatively prosperous countries, there is increasing awareness of child suffering and unhappiness.
1843 M. Howitt iv. 48
The carol-singers went of an evening from house to house, singing, in their pleasant child voices.
1898 T. Watts-Dunton i. §2
Into my very being that child-voice passed.
1944 E. Sitwell 31
Lest I hear your child-voice crying.
2008 M. G. Neuman 124
Your child voice has been around a longer time and began when you were a young, malleable person.
1848 E. Oakes Smith xvi. 134
The child-word, forgive, is beautiful from mortal lips, and touches even angelic hearts.
1947 42 354
The transition from the child-word to the conventional word.
1999 24 282
At no point did she speak the word holocaust..but the childword for me..in the dialect of where they came from.
1605 J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas ii. ii. 414
The child-World's mayden Monarchie.
1856 J. G. Whittier viii
As in that child-world's early year.
1991 R. A. Jamieson 29
Imagining her as she was then, huge and centrally placed in his child world.
1807 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 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 ii. 24
Behind every child actor is at least one supportive and ambitious parent.
1854 29 July
The celebrated child-actresses, known as the Bateman children.
1936 64 158
A child actress, Shirley Temple, was the most popular of all film stars in the twelve months' period just past.
2011 2 May 9/1
Carly Rose Sonenclar, the gifted child actress who plays Alice's daughter, Chloe.
1823 4 Jan. 184/1
There lay, sure enough, wrapt in its cloudy swaddling bands—a Child-Angel.
1901 M. Cruttwell vii. 104
Below the gradino of her throne a child-angel is seated, a lute across its knees, its mouth open in song.
Two of the statues were plant holders in the shape of a woman's torso. The third statue was of twin child angels.
Perched on a stone, beside the cottage-door, Sat a child-girl, in raiment somewhat poor.
1967 19 No. 3. 110
It is his infatuation with a strange, drifting child-girl named Lenore that begins his descent.
2006 291 4/2
I was my lover's child-girl, and he was like a daddy.
1843 May 103/1
There is only one tale, of which Beatrice Desmond is the child-heroine.
1903 18 232/2
The child heroine is introduced..‘Alice [Emmie] most won my love’.
1997 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.
a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus
(BL Add. 27944)
I. vi. xix. 320
Woo is þe lond þat hath a childe kinge [L. cuius rex puer est].
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 232
England felt all miseries which happen under a child-King.
1998 2 July 82/2
Spielberg became the child-king of Hollywood, and success clearly fucked with his film-nerd mind.
1839 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 25 60
In Illinois alone the number of child laborers seems to have doubled during five years.
2006 R. Das xviii. 284
She was only nine years old when she worked as a child labourer and earned meager wages for her family.
l. 1515 (MED)
A ȝong chylde-mon come renne a-syde & to þis holy mayde he dude honure.
1841 T. Carlyle i. 11
The first Pagan Thinker..was precisely the child-man of Aristotle.
2011 2 Apr. c10/4
Nick Hornby is the most prolific chronicler..of the child-man, the post-adolescent but pre-adult male.
1848 Jan. 140
To the free and wild delight of its child-mother it began to toddle.
1968 8 640
It is the world, the Murdstones, and not Death that robs David of this child mother.
Women legislators have asked the government to develop a policy to educate child-mothers.
† child-noble n. Obsolete rare
1873 ‘Ouida’ I. i. ii. 22
A child-noble in his gala-costume of white and gold and powder and jewels.
1586 T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye I. 620
A child Prince is a token of Gods wrath.
1887 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 iii. 66
This rival called upon Ibn Khaldun to aid him in his overthrow of the child-prince.
1610 P. Holland tr. W. Camden i. 396
S. Rumald..was canonized..for a child-Saint.
1890 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 248
The full story of the child-saint is re-told in a condensed English version of the twelfth-century Periya Puranam.
1855 P. G. Hamerton 303
The child-soldier... He was a British Grenadier, And he was ten years old.
1934 7 Nov. 13/7
A silver bayonet is to be the annual prize given to the best child soldier in Italy.
2001 C. Coker vi. 123
Child soldiers are used by all accounts for their ruthlessness, their lack of moral inhibitions, their lack of restraint.
1840 4 Jan. 321/1
Lines on his New Child-Sweetheart by Thomas Campbell.
1901 9 Nov. 12/6
The machinations of an enterprising spinster..who stuck at nothing to oust the child-sweetheart.
26 Dec. 84
Congrats to Scotland and Celtic star Stephen McManus who got hitched to his gorgeous child sweetheart last week.
1864 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 iv. 61
2008 R. Giorgi 99
The child Virgin is raised to Heaven standing on a cloud supported by child angels.
(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) xxiv. 19
Uae autem prignantibus et nutriantibus in illis diebus : wa þonne eknum & cildfoedendum in ðæm dagum.
c1443 R. Pecock
Þat he..not lette child bigeting and forþ bringyng.
1577 R. Holinshed II. 738/1
To liue vnder suche a bloud-supper and childe kyller.
1595 Shakespeare ii. ii. 112
That Clifford there, that Cruell child-killer.
1613 S. Hutton tr. J. M. de Franchis 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
Infanticide, a slaying or killing of Infants, child-murthering; such was that of Herod.
1675 iv. vi. 51
I would fain be acquainted with these Child-stealers. I have a Litter of my little Urchins at home.
1790 Apr. 257/2
This cruel Clyfford,..not contentive with this homicide or child-killing,..caused his head to be stryck off.
1826 Scott II. viii. 214
I was captain in Lunsford's light-horse..I was a child-eater, sir.
1835 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 224
The calumnies of child-eating and impurity in the christian meetings.
1852 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 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 Aug. 162
The professional child-murderer.
1879 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 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 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 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 June 38/1
There are enormous rewards for the child-loving woman in such work.
1963 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 72
Exclusive female responsibility for childraising.
2000 31 May 3/5
Sex offenders and child killers will be listed on the register for 10 years.
1882 A. C. Swinburne in C. Fiske Bates 553
With little unblown breasts and child-eyed looks Following, the very maid, the girl-child spring.
1925 W. Deeping xiv. 129
Merry, insouciant, child-eyed little lady.
2007 M. Thomas 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.
1846 C. G. F. Gore III. ii. 49
I swear that this charming heiress,—this clear-minded, pure-hearted, child-faced daughter,..prefers you.
1912 May 36/2
Who was this child-faced woman, whose passion..drove her to secret imagings of love and lovers?
2001 D. Holloway i. 6
Candy was a pretty, child-faced woman of 26.
1844 E. B. Barrett II. 238
Child-simple, undefiled, Frank, obedient.
1978 G. Nuttall ii. i. 28
The issues are child-simple. Be a child. Don't grow.
Ne sceal hine mon cildgeongne forcweþan, ær he hine acyþan mote.
Cildgeongum mannum [a1225 Winteney cyldȝeonȝe manna; L. infantibus] eal geferræden unþeawas styre, and hyra mycele gymene hæbben oð þæt fifteoþe ger hyra ylde.
l. 6440 (MED)
A child-ȝong man, apliȝt, Þat was þe doukes kinseman..Alle on he folwed sir Gij.
1824 in J. Maidment 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 ii. 14
Her face was child-young.
2010 J. Patterson xxviii. 97
He was child-young, but there was nothing resembling fear in those brown doe eyes of his.
child abuse n. maltreatment of a child, esp. consisting of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, or any combination of these.
1827 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 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 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 11 Sept. 76/1
Other themes scheduled for prime-time dramatic treatment include impotency, castration,..and child abuse.
2009 19 Jan. 34/2
If a nursing woman drinks to excess..can she be charged with child abuse?
child abuser n. a person who commits child abuse.
1873 20 Mar.
More child whipping—As might be supposed the victim was a little child..under the supervision of the champion child abuser.
1904 Oct. 15
A millstone round the neck of a child-abuser is too light a penalty.
1976 S. Brandon in M. Borland i. 4
Compared with women, the male child abuser is more likely to have a serious personality disorder of a psychopathic type.
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.
[ < + ]
now English regional (Lincolnshire) childhood.
1548 N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus I. John Pref. 4 a
In your very chyldage there appered in you a certayne..meruelous towardenes.
1638 T. Whitaker 43
Childage, which from the birth is extended to the foureteenth or fifteenth yeare.
1766 R. Griffith & E. Griffith IV. 130
We..return back, from Midage, to Childage, again.
1995 J. M. Sims-Kimbrey
child allowance n. a tax allowance granted to parents of dependent children; (also, loosely) =
1920 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 225
People in the pubs spending the child allowance on booze.
1974 13 Nov. 418
The Government are committed to extend the family allowance to the first child under their child allowance scheme.
1991 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.
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 ).
1975 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 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.
2 Feb. 18
Parents would only receive child benefit for three children and no more.
child-bereft adj. that has lost a child or children, esp. denoting a parent whose child has died.
1848 Nov. 22/2
How calmly does he rebuke the intemperate grief of the child-bereft Constance!
1899 23 Dec. 955/2
The vacant chair and the silence of a child-bereft home.
1990 21 145
The wailing of child-bereft women.
2009 S. Kelso i. 6
A child-bereft woman's grief.
child bird n. now rare (in South America) a penguin.
[After American Spanish †paxaro niño (1646, in the passage translated in quot. , or earlier; now pajaro niño).]
1703 tr. A. de Ovalle 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 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 156
These days in much of South America, as elsewhere, it has become unthinkable to kill or harm the pajaro nino, ‘child bird’.
1570 J. Foxe
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
I. i. xxv. 166/1
The Children every Childermas Day to go to Paul's Church, and hear the Child-Bishop Sermon.
1987 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.
child-bride n. a bride who is still a child; a very young bride.
1843 E. Bulwer-Lytton II. v. i. 162
Boy-bridegroom and child-bride as we were.
1865 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 9 Oct. 3/1
The author shows us the child-bride arriving at the court of France.
1986 S. Penman
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 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.
child-centred adj. (esp. of education) centred around the child; giving priority to the interests and needs of children.
1923 16 71
Mathematics teachers of the University High School agree..that the work of the former period is child-centered.
1970 28 Jan. 11/5
The child-centred, permissive approach.
2007 8 Dec. 21/2
Such children..need genuinely child-centred learning in small groups.
† child changed adj. Obsolete rare—1 changed by the conduct of his children; (perhaps also) changed into a child.
child-crowing n. Medicine (now rare) spasm of the muscles closing the larynx, which results in crowing inspiratory sounds, occurring in a child; cf. .
a1830 R. Gooch
I know of no name for it more appropriate than that of child-crowing.
1861 T. J. Graham 191
The child-crowing, though merely a spasmodic disease, is not..free from danger.
1911 2 Sept. 484/2
Cases of stridor and child-crowing.
2003 T. Navarra 116/2
Laryngismus stridulus, also known as child crowing, a spasm that briefly causes closure of the glottis.
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; = ; frequently attributive.
1857 18 Mar. 8/1
The child custody case.
1947 21 125/2
Social service for children, as contrasted with child custody, was new.
1977 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 July 119/2
Such potentially emotional issues as child custody and parental visitation rights.
2004 N. K. Choudri 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.
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 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 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 1 Oct. 716/4
They would face criminal charges, after being arrested last February on suspicion of conspiracy to commit child destruction.
child development n. the changes which occur as children mature physically, emotionally, socially, linguistically, and cognitively; the study of this; frequently attributive.
1879 13 June 2/6
I have arranged a series of diet tables for the various stages of child development.
1941 10 114/1
The term ‘insecurity’ and its correlative ‘desire for security’ appear extensively in child development literature.
1961 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 126
She made an effort to talk to Mance all the time in a light, pleasing sing-song that child development experts called motherese.
child-directed speech n. Linguistics and Social Psychology a simplified form of language used in speaking to babies and young children; cf. , .
[1972 P. A. Broen 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 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.
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
Those parents who use child-directed speech further simplify the child's task of figuring out the rules of language.
child-farming n. now hist. =
1849 11 Jan.
The only sufferers were the poor children in the child-farming establishment.
1872 J. Forster
A child-farming that deserved the gallows.
1970 V. George
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 111
It was to take an outbreak of cholera to put a stop to child-farming once and for all.
child-friendliness n. the quality of being child-friendly.
1987 12 172/2
The deviations towards child friendliness are minor peturbations [sic] compared to the prevailing level of threat.
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 196
Among the common characteristics of political cultures in the Nordic countries is a relatively high degree of child-friendliness.
child-friendly adj. welcoming towards or suitable for children; designed with the needs, interests, or safety of children in mind.
1977 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 6 Dec. 16/8
The account we get is authentically child-friendly.
1998 A. Forna
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 Aug. 141/3
A buyer will have to like the somewhat cheesy indoor swimming pool with child-friendly slide.
†(a) having a childish manner (obsolete);
(b) directed towards or designed to suit children.
He watȝ so joly of his joyfnes, & sum-quat child-gered.
1958 Apr. 226/2
I suggest a child-geared ‘eat-an-egg-for-breakfast’ campaign of some kind.
17 May d9
Will, with the help of wonderful special teachers, undergoes similar anti-anxiety routines plus other child-geared calming practices.
child genius n. a child who is precociously intelligent or gifted; a child prodigy.
1845 E. Meteyard II. vi. 78
This beggarly child genius.
1929 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 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.
† child-great adj. Obsolete big with child, pregnant.
1605 J. Sylvester tr. G. de S. Du Bartas i. iii. 98
A Child-great Woman.
child guidance n. supervision or therapeutic treatment to promote the welfare, esp. in its psychological aspects, of children and adolescents; frequently attributive.
1896 17 Oct.
‘Child Guidance’ was the interesting subject upon which Mrs Sarah Farwell Of St Paul, Minn., spoke on Thursday.
1937 ‘E. M. Delafield’ i. 33
A modern child-guidance expert.
1940 R. S. Woodworth
When a child presents a serious behaviour problem..he may be taken to a child guidance clinic.
2003 G. Newton
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.
† child ill n. Scottish Obsolete the pains of childbirth; labour.
It is ye layndar..Yat hyr child-ill [1487 St. John's Cambr. childyne] rycht now has tane.
a1525 in W. A. Craigie
Within vj days efter for diseis scho toke hir child ill.
tr. H. Boece Hist. Scotl.
viii. xiv. f. 284, in at Child-ill
Ada..in hir childe ill with hir birth deceissing.
child labour n.
†(a) the process of childbirth; = (obsolete);
(b) the use of children in industry or business, esp. when illegal or considered inhumane.
1585 J. Banister xliii. 238
Childlabour neere hande, or newe fulfilled, argueth the part to bee inflamed through store of milke.
IV. xxxiii. 444
I thought it proper to send you the following History of a Woman who died in Child-Labour.
1817 J. Farey 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 5 Oct. 12/3
An inquest ought generally to be held where death has followed on child labour.
1878 127 448
Limitation of child-labor.
1930 C. E. Morgan iv. 44
The Typographical Association of New York..denounced child labor, especially the use of roller boys.
1986 9 Oct. 18/3
The institute argues that child labour perpetuates the backwardness of the most disadvantaged people in India.
2009 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.
child-land n. rare an idealized or imaginary realm of children or childhood.
1882 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 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’.
child-life n. life as a child; childhood; the lives of the children of a nation or community.
1841 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
Child Life in Chinese Homes.
1933 2 Mar. 151/2
This latest medical pamphlet contains three papers in which Adlerian psychology is applied to various phases of child life.
2011 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.
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 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.
The VCR features a 14-function infra-red remote control, a child-lock to avoid interruption of the tape or accidental erasure, [etc.].
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.
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.
child molestation n. sexual abuse of a child by an adult.
1949 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 21 Jan. 21/1
How many cases of child molestation were never reported to the police?
1977 15 Mar. 3/5
[The] film director.., who is accused of rape, child molestation..[etc.], claimed today that he is innocent.
9 Jan. a1
At least a dozen child molestation and child pornography prosecutions since 2000.
child molester n. a person who is guilty of child molestation.
1939 11 Oct. 2/2
Officers Get New Reports on Child Molester From Girl.
1981 G. Swift i. 15
A suspected child-molester..who commits suicide before proceedings can be taken.
26 May 14
A convicted child molester..was able to refuse giving a sample of his DNA to police.
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 4 Feb. 4/5
I have seen him so moved at sight of the Child-Offenders.
1922 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. ii. 38
The child offender turns to children for comfort and satisfaction of his needs, not to adult authority figures.
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 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.
1974 29 May d1/2
Police raids have gathered up whole warehouses of child porn.
2000 Feb. 20/1
Up until now, Internet-friendly pornographers, either suppliers or receivers of child porn, have had relatively easy lives.
child pornographer n. a person who produces, distributes, or collects child pornography.
1977 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 Jan. 7/1
A..convicted child pornographer facing a maximum ten years in jail.
2003 24 Feb. 4236/1
We cannot and we will not permit child pornographers to hide behind the courts or modern technology.
child pornography n. pornographic material featuring sexually explicit images or descriptions of children.
1967 18 Nov. (Weekend Mag.) 4/2
To treat the molestors, the slides shown include an extensive collection of child pornography.
1987 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
Operation Ore—the United Kingdom's largest ever hunt for internet users who download child pornography.
child prodigy n. a child with precocious talent, esp. in the performing arts, an infant prodigy; cf. .
1860 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 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 vii. 118
Field was by no means the only musical child-prodigy.
1986 2 Aug. 4/1
I played a brainbox child prodigy chess player.
2005 R. Nidel iv. 223
Shujaat Hussain Khan was a child prodigy who began playing on a small sitar at age 3.
child protection n. the protection of children, esp. by social or legal agencies, from danger or abuse of various kinds; frequently attributive.
1893 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 24 Jan. 27/3
Hon. J. M. Gibson, provincial secretary, has an article on the ‘Child Protection Act in Ontario’.
1931 18 Mar. 90/2
In the matter of child protection our legislators are still..beginners.
1986 L. Gordon in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley 64
Nineteenth-century child protection agents saw themselves as para-legal, punishing specific offences, protecting children from specific dangers.
1994 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 2 Jan. 5/5
He was not the subject of a child protection plan—what was formerly the ‘at-risk register’.
child psychiatrist n. a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children.
1925 1 Feb. b4/2
Montaigne..gave sage suggestions that the modern child psychiatrists are only now trying to apply.
1928 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
Mother..said if I pestered her any more she was going to refer me to a child psychiatrist.
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.
child psychiatry n. the branch of psychiatry dealing with the treatment of children.
1925 13 Dec. 22/5
Dr William Healy of Boston medical director of the Judge Baker Foundation and authority of child psychiatry.
1962 5 May 959/2
Proposals..to set up a child-psychiatry clinic entirely within the hospital system.
2011 K. T. Kalikow xiv. 314
Most medicines used in child psychiatry are taken for at least the better part of a year.
child psychologist n. an expert in or student of child psychology.
1892 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 3
The child-psychologist can follow the growth of a human being.
2008 Mar. 155/2
Some child psychologists and criminologists are predicting that this surge in extreme violence is just a taste of things to come.
child psychology n. the systematic study of the psychology of children.
1887 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 3
Principles of child-psychology.
1941 ‘R. Crompton’ x. 232
Mrs. Dayford was a self-styled expert on Child Psychology.
1967 B. Russell I. ii. 38
I remember a very definite change when I reached what in modern child psychology is called the ‘latency period’.
16 Feb. 25
Problems were solved instinctively with a simple wisdom not to be found in any child psychology manual.
child-queller n. now rare
†(a) a person who kills children (obsolete);
(b) (humorous) a person who deals severely with children.
?1518 sig. B.vjv
Mortherers, Crakers, facers and chylderne quellers.
The Castle of this ogress and child-queller was in a steep bye-street.
1930 E. Wingfield-Stratford 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.
child-rearing n. the process of bringing up a child or children.
1842 4 Apr.
This nation has a practice of modifying the form of the head during child-rearing.
1918 Jan. 20/4
Gladys' ideas on child rearing had gone to smash long ago.
1968 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 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.
child restraint n. orig. U.S. a seat belt or safety seat designed to protect children in a motor vehicle.
1967 11 May 32/3
Chrysler said it was also investigating a child-restraint system.
1976 5 June 9/1
The study recommended that children be restrained by a seat belt or specially designed child-restraint system while traveling.
1991 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 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.
child-ridden adj. afflicted with or oppressed by children.
1843 B. Bradshawe II. iv. 71
Away went this weak and child-ridden woman, to argue against her better reason with her husband.
1870 R. Broughton I. 254
The Felton curate's fat childridden wife.
1962 10 Aug. 62/1
The child-ridden parents are often no help—letting themselves be stampeded.
17 Apr. 36
While Lindsey Coulson conveys all the quiet, pinafored despair of her child-ridden neighbour.
† child-rider n. Obsolete a child servant; cf. sense .
1665 in J. Y. Akerman
Pref. p. vi,
Footmen 24,..Childryders 4,..Falconers 12.
† child-rites n. Christian Church Obsolete the rites connected with the baptism of children.
?1624 G. Chapman tr. Hymn to Apollo in tr. 26
Euery feeble chaine, of earthy Child-rights; flew in sunder, all.
1823 C. Lamb
An Anabaptist minister conforming to the child-rites of the Church.
child seat n. a small seat for a child, now esp. a protective one fitted to a motor vehicle or bicycle; cf.
1842 9 July
A superior new Buggey, with child seat, drab lined, built of the best of materials.
1886 12 Dec. 20/7
For sale—Six buggies, barouches, phaetons, storm-wagons and child-seat surrey.
1950 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 28 May 3/4
A patented child-seat will minimize injuries in event of collision.
1996 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 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.
child-size adj. of the size of a child; of a size suitable for a child.
1897 9 Nov. 10/2
Lilliputian to child-size dolls.
1944 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 7 Aug. 32/3
He is wispy, child-size, faintly breathing through a mask.
1899 26 Mar. 12/6
Percy..ordered a pork tenderloin and a child sized piece of mince pie.
1946 46 455/2
Children must have comfort during meals... Eating utensils are to be child-sized.
2007 Jan. 51/2
Encouragement for small gardeners came in the shape of child-sized garden tools and watering cans.
child spacing n. the action or practice of planning the intervals between the births of children in a family.
1932 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
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.
child star n. a celebrated or famous child actor.
1886 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 vii. 77
Have you ever had to look after a sassy, swollen-headed, wisecracking child star?
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.
child study n. the systematic study of children and their behaviour, development, etc.
1845 S. W. Fisher 55
To train students for a new profession, that of child study expert.
1899 W. James 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 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 ii. 52
Magazine articles ridiculed mothers who, heeding the dictates of child study, allowed children to turn their houses upside down.
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 3 May 20/6
‘Child-support’ law interpreted.
1929 7 Nov. 1/7
Bessie Smock was granted a divorce..and $25 per month for child support was granted plaintiff.
1965 N. Cassady 3 Sept.
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 21 Sept. 28/4
Over 90 per cent of fathers had stopped paying child support a year after divorce.
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 7 Apr. 9 a/3
Child Support Pay Agency Plan OKd.]
1973 22 May 2/5
Child Support Agency ‘Outstanding’.
1988 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 (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 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.
child trafficker n. a person engaged in child trafficking.
1976 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 Sept. 25/1
Child traffickers lure many children into prostitution and pornography.
28 May 179
These areas are home to low-end apartment complexes targeted by child traffickers.
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. .
1887 16 Aug.
The investigating committee appointed by the White Cross guild to inquire into the charges of child trafficking and juvenile prostitution.
About 3,000 children..were smuggled into Hong Kong since October 1981 when the first child trafficking case was discovered.
2010 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.
child welfare n. the welfare of children; cf. .
1907 10 288
The answers would help secure an increase..in general attention to child welfare.
1958 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 24 Sept. 56/1
He is so zealous about child welfare you'd think there was money in it.
[1950 14 480
Animistic representations in advertisements are certain to receive immediate attention since they appeal to the child within ourselves.]
1956 H. Guntrip x. 146
All patients..dread a type of treatment based on the uncovering and drawing back to consciousness of the timid child within.
1983 37 519
The ghost child whom the adult narrator encounters..is also..a resurrection of an ever-present child within.
1991 U. Markham
If our parents..gave in to our tantrums, our child within will probably manifest itself in a negative, rather than a positive, fashion.
2000 20 Mar. 9/5
As the daughter of hippy parents..she doesn't give up the ‘child within’ without a fight.
child-woman n. †a young female servant (cf. sense ) (obsolete); a girl; a woman who is still a child.
Judith xiii. 5
Judit seide to hir child womman [a1425 L.V. damesele].
Esther iv. 4
The childer wymmen of Ester.
1862 E. Bulwer-Lytton II. xxv. 177
The child-woman in the child-world.
2004 4 Mar. 23/2
With her gamine face and tiny, long-legged body, Ananiashvili still seems, at almost 40, a child-woman.
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 (H.C. 158) XXXV. 158
One child worker in factory, earns 6s. 8d.
1904 19 418
This typical street worker [sc. the newsboy] was ignored in all the state laws which protect other child workers.
1947 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 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 vii. 241
Producers had to agree..to turn over 1 percent of the carpet wholesale price to a welfare fund for child workers.
Compound's with child's
† child's bed n. Obsolete the womb; = .
1535 2 Esdras iv. 40
Yf hir childeszbed maye kepe ye byrth eny longer within her.
child's-eye view n.
a view, picture, or opinion, such as that which a child may have.
1931 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 29 May 4/6
The serious-minded parents could no longer ignore the child's-eye view of the family world.
2010 23 Aug. 64/3
The feathers and the sequins of figure skating are..a child's-eye view of glamour.
Compounds with children's
(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 .
1519 W. Horman vii. f. 77
Many be occupyed vncomly, and vnaccordynglye about childrens maters.
4½ gross rander gloves, 35 doz. pinnes, 900 ells cushen canvas and 6 doz. children's daggers.
1642 Inventory 14 Nov. in
Elfin-blades 2s, a dozen childrens gloves 16d.
1654 R. Whitlock 161
Steeple houses (as Churches are styled in our new Childrens Dictionary).
1786 T. Baldwin iii. 16
The Shape of an inverted Cone, or Children's Top.
1831 G. Henson iv. 224
The stationers..formerly enjoyed the exclusive right to print and sell almanacks, children's alphabets, psalm books, [etc.].
1845 47 211
Sixteen cases were admitted into the children's ward.
1894 H. Butterworth xii. 282
Mrs. Bates' own room was filled with portraits of children's authors.
1899 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 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 15 Apr. 13
A rigid sense of democracy long ago debarred nannies and maids from children's fiction.
1966 3 Dec. 1002/1
The Chancellor should increase children's allowances for large, relatively poor families.
1978 J. Wain vii. 203
She's in a group that does children's theatre.
1991 Oct. 5
Ladieswear, Menswear, Childrenswear and Interiors.
1992 I. Banks iii. 72
The tin-whistle pretend language from one of the children's programmes we'd all watched as youngsters.
2008 29 July 31/1
He looked like a children's entertainer who'd fallen on hard times.
Childrens Books of all sorts.
1896 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 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 Spring 70/1
Kenneth Grahame's captivating children's book, The Wind in the Willows.
1752 tr. Declar. Queen of Sweden in J. T. Philipps 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 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
She..was scheduled for an intravenous pyelogram at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
2012 9 Sept.
(Metropolitan section) 16
One of the nation's best children's hospitals.
1835 S. L. Smith Let. 14 Dec. in E. W. Hooker
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 3 22
Interesting to the occasional child who fancies quaint tales, and to all students of children's literature.
2008 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.
children's home n. a residential institution for children who are orphaned, abandoned, or otherwise vulnerable.
1839 26 Oct. 272/1
Chaplain to the Children's Homes, Norwood, Tooting, and Brixton.
1880 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. 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 24 Dec. 13/1
Retiral collection in aid of children's homes.
2001 B. Broady 96
He was doomed: The Mirpuri rastas shunned him now—he was reduced to running with the kids from the children's home.
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’ 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 209
Between the dark and the daylight..Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour.
1923 12 Oct. 89/3
The Children's Hour: (a) Games and Pastimes; (b) Children's News.
1937 ‘E. M. Delafield’ 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 iv. 199
The institution of the ‘children's hour’ between afternoon tea and dressing for dinner.
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 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 12 143
A witty account of the life, work, and times of the ‘children's laureate’ [sc. Eugene Field].
1999 11 May 38
The Princess Royal appointed the illustrator and writer Quentin Blake as our first Children's Laureate.
Australia's two inaugural Children's Laureates stop off at Verbal Arts Centre..during their first visit to Ireland.
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
The children's menu; dished up by André to suit all tastes.
1896 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 25 Nov. 11
Cracker teas in restaurant. Special Children's Menu.
2010 S. R. White 16
Naomi..told him Julia was absolutely too old to order off the children's menu.
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 xxiii. 360
Happily has the struggle, which affected not only you, but your children, and your children's children's rights and liberties, terminated.
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 12 June 11/4
Children's Rights Day: Action Space with inflatables and events.
1992 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.
† childward adj. Obsolete rare directed towards children.
1847 Tennyson vii. 156
She [must gain] mental breadth, nor fail in childward care.
1894 F. Fenwick Miller in 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.
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This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2013).
In this entry:
In other dictionaries:
- My entries(1)
- Chihuahua, n.1858
- chikhor | chikor, n.1815
- chikungunya, n.1954
- chilaquiles, n.1938
- chilblain, n.1547
- chilblain, v.1889
- chilblained, adj.1602
- chilblainy, adj.1843
- chilce, n.a1200
- child, n.eOE
- child, v.?c1200
- childbearing, n.a1400
- childbearing, adj.a1382
- childbed, n.a1225
- childbirth, n.?a1450
- childcare, n.1896
- childed, adj.1608
- childen, adj.?c1225
- childerhead, n.c1400
- childerless, adj.1549
- Childermas, n.OE
- childer spell, n.1606
- child-free, adj.1913
- childhead, n.a1325
- childheady, adj.1340
- childhood, n.OE
- childie, n.1848
- childing, n.c1250
- childing, adj.a1387
- childish, adj.OE
- childishly, adv.a1413
- childishness, n.1526
- childless, adj.?c1200
- childlessness, n.1657
- childlike, adv. and ...1576
- childlikeness, n.1744
- Childline, n.1979
- childliness, n.a1846
- childling, n.1648
- childly, adj. and adv.eOE