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IMO, for a person to be a "child", s/he must be the living offspring of at least one living parent. If you ask someone how many children they have, they (normally) do not count any who are deceased, or they may say: "I had a child, but he passed away." Similarly, parents refer to their adult offspring as their "children", but once the parents have both passed away, people will say that those offspring "were the children of so-and-so", not are the children... I was going to change the definition entry, but on second thought was not sure enough of this point of view to do so. 21:01, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

That is sort of true, but does not warrant a change in the definition. You can still say "Henry VIII had three children who became monarchs," even though Henry VIII and all his children are now deceased. The change you describe pertains to the tense of the verb, the rules for counting, and not the meaning of child. --EncycloPetey 21:08, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

'unborn' sense needs to be separatedEdit

Currently we have:
2. An unborn or young person, a minor, especially one who has not yet entered into puberty.
Using 'child' to refer to a(n unborn) fetus/embryo (aside from the contentiousness of implicitly using "unborn person") is very distinct from using it to refer to a born child that has grown beyond babyhood (this is what I think would be the standard meaning), and therefore I think warrants a separate definition, something like:
3. Sometimes used to refer to an embryo or fetus, in anticipation of its birth and growth beyond babyhood. --Tyranny Sue 23:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Proposal re 2nd quotation, sense 2Edit

Currently, it's:
"1989, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."
To avoid the unnecessarily (and possibly misleadingly) gender-specific pronoun, I propose to replace this with the following from the same source:
"States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."[1] --Tyranny Sue 23:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I think that PART I, Article 1 — “For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.” — would be a better choice; it defines the term and is iconic in being the first article of the convention.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 06:46, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree. I'll replace it now.--Tyranny Sue 04:23, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
A definition based on a UN official definition needs some kind of tag. We normally don't take official definitions as evidence of general usage. See presentation of ground beef and its discussion. DCDuring TALK 11:40, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Draft revised sense 2 & new 3Edit

How it might look after implementing my 2 proposals above:

2. A minor, a prepubescent human.
  1. That child is up to no good.
    • 1989, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 14 [2]:
      States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
3. An embryo or fetus, in anticipation of its birth and growth beyond babyhood.
The existing citation obviously tends to support the pre-birth sense, now sense 3. I would not put a non-standard tag on sense 3. No dictionary does and many have such a sense. We don't normally use such a tag to select among meanings. That sense of child is the one that fits into the "with child" idiom, but is not limited to that. Other OneLook dictionaries have as many as 11 senses. They include the "childish" person sense; the child of the 60s, the Depression, etc sense; and the descendants or clan/tribe member sense. There should be a computing sense (a child process). DCDuring TALK 01:53, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, removing "non-standard" (above). I actually didn't intend to remove the computing sense, just didn't bother adding it here to better focus on the senses under revision. (Sorry, I didn't think to mention that.)
About the citation, I assume you mean: "The child...needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." Another of my reasons for replacing it is that it's potentially confusing. It isn't actually stating that they'd use the word "child" when it was not-yet-born, but there is an ambiguity there that I think we'd do better to avoid, just for clarity.--Tyranny Sue 01:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not really sure about how to suitably make an entry for the "unborn" sense (which still strikes me as non-standard) but I really think it doesn't belong in sense 2. --Tyranny Sue 04:41, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Because "unborn person" is so contentious, and "unborn or young person" is rather clumsy, I just changed sense 2 to "prepubescent person", which technically covers 'embryo' or 'fetus' for readers who think of those as 'persons'.--Tyranny Sue 04:55, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Just for reference, the ‘unborn baby’ sense is in fact probably the word's original meaning. It's not non-standard at all. Though it's uncommon now, you can see it shining through in such set phrases as childbirth, ‘with child’, etc. Ƿidsiþ 10:27, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Computing senseEdit

For the computing sense I recommend a definition along the lines of:

A data item, process or object which has a subservient or derivative role relative to another data item, process or object.

Pingku 18:52, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Member of a tribeEdit

At least with the example 'children of Israel', it should be indicated that children went from the literal to the figurative. Israel was the god-given name of Jacob, and his twelve children formed the twelve tribes of the land of Israel, yet those children were literally the children of Israel. And those children had sons and daughters who all were 'grand's or 'great-grand's of Israel, yet still his children. Eventually with so much intermarriage after generations, the term 'children' in the sense of Israel became much more figurative. All of this be noted as a sort of etymology.

RFC discussion: February 2006Edit

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup (permalink).

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

Invalid definitions added, Middle English plural. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:13, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Remark on etymologyEdit

Is it not likely that the word child is linked with Danish 'kilde' meaning source or spring, same as dialectal English 'keld'?

Return to "child" page.