A mother with two children (offspring)

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English child, from Old English ċild ‎(child, infant, youth of gentle birth), from Proto-Germanic *kelþaz ‎(child in the womb, fruit of the womb, child), from Proto-Indo-European *g(')elt- ‎(womb). Cognate with Danish kuld ‎(brood, litter), Swedish kull ‎(brood, litter), Icelandic kelta, kjalta ‎(lap), Gothic 𐌺𐌹𐌻𐌸𐌴𐌹 ‎(kilþei, womb), Sanskrit जर्त ‎(jarta), जर्तु ‎(jártu, vulva).



child ‎(plural children or (dialectal or archaic) childer)

  1. A human between birth and puberty
  2. A person below the age of adulthood; a minor (generally below 18 years of age or below the legal age of responsibility or accountability).
  3. One's daughter or son; an offspring.
    Her child is in 1st grade.
    My youngest child is forty-three.
  4. (figuratively) An offspring; one born in, or considered a product of the culture of, a place.
    • 1984, Mary Jane Matz, The Many Lives of Otto Kahn: A Biography, page 5:
      For more than forty years, he preached the creed of art and beauty. He was heir to the ancient wisdom of Israel, a child of Germany, a subject of Great Britain, later an American citizen, but in truth a citizen of the world.
  5. (figuratively) A member of a tribe, a people or a race of beings; one born into or considered a product of a people.
    • 2009, Edward John Moreton Dunsany, Tales of Wonder, page 64:
      Plash-Goo was of the children of the giants, whose sire was Uph. And the lineage of Uph had dwindled in bulk for the last five hundred years, till the giants were now no more than fifteen foot high; but Uph ate elephants []
    The children of Israel.
  6. (figuratively) A thing or abstraction derived from or caused by something.
    Poverty, disease, and despair are the children of war.
    • 2013 June 7, Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalisation is about taxes too”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 19:
      It is time the international community faced the reality: we have an unmanageable, unfair, distortionary global tax regime. […] It is the starving of the public sector which has been pivotal in America no longer being the land of opportunity – with a child's life prospects more dependent on the income and education of its parents than in other advanced countries.
    Go easy on him: he is but a child.
  7. (computing) A data item, process or object which has a subservient or derivative role relative to another data item, process or object.
    The child node then stores the actual data of the parent node.
    • 2011, John Mongan, ‎Noah Kindler, ‎Eric Giguère, Programming Interviews Exposed
      The algorithm pops the stack to obtain a new current node when there are no more children (when it reaches a leaf).
  8. (obsolete) A female infant; a girl.
    • Shakespeare
      A boy or a child, I wonder?



  • (daughter or son): father, mother, parent
  • (person below the age of adulthood): adult
  • (data item, process or object in a subordinate role): parent

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Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit


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