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child

[ chahyld ]SEE DEFINITION OF child

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR CHILD

You were our only child; named Artaminta, in remembrance of my mother.

The child was preserved, and brought up in the temple of Phœbus.

But I've known every bad place in it, and I've religiously put in your "Come, come, child!"

The frolic with the child seemed to have blown away a fog from between them.

When he "played" with Baby Akemit thereafter, the pretence was not all with the child.

He did not remember who he was, or that he had a wife and child.

Rock, rock, went the cradle, and mother and child slept; but alas!

He was a happy-go-lucky person and he could not give his child a large dowry.

The child was carried on its mother's back, and hung on without any assistance.

She evidently preferred facing any danger to parting with her child.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English cild "fetus, infant, unborn or newly born person," from Proto-Germanic *kiltham (cf. Gothic kilþei "womb," inkilþo "pregnant;" Danish kuld "children of the same marriage;" Old Swedish kulder "litter;" Old English cildhama "womb," lit. "child-home"); no certain cognates outside Germanic. "App[arently] originally always used in relation to the mother as the 'fruit of the womb'" [Buck]. Also in late Old English, "a youth of gentle birth" (archaic, usually written childe). In 16c.-17c. especially "girl child."

The wider sense "young person before the onset of puberty" developed in late Old English. Phrase with child "pregnant" (late 12c.) retains the original sense. The sense extension from "infant" to "child" also is found in French enfant, Latin infans. Meaning "one's own child; offspring of parents" is from late 12c. (the Old English word was bearn; see bairn). Figurative use from late 14c. Most Indo-European languages use the same word for "a child" and "one's child," though there are exceptions (e.g. Latin liberi/pueri).

The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity's sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer and in Childermas.

Child abuse is attested by 1963; child-molester from 1950. Child care is from 1915. Child's play, figurative of something easy, is in Chaucer (late 14c.).

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR CHILD

toddler

nounbaby
  • child
  • infant
  • kid
  • little one
  • preschooler
  • rug rat
  • tot
  • youngster
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.
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