- childer (archaic, except in Ireland)
- childs (nonstandard, rare)
- chillen (eye dialect)
- chillun (eye dialect)
- chirren (eye dialect)
From Middle English children, alteration of earlier childre ("children"; > English dialectal childer), from Old English ċildru, ċildra (“children”), nominative and accusative plural of ċild (“child”), equivalent to child + -ren.
- (UK, US, General Australian, New Zealand) IPA(key): /ˈt͡ʃɪldɹən/
- (Southern American English, AAVE) IPA(key): [tʃɪl.ɹən]
- (General American, Canada) IPA(key): [ˈt͡ʃɪl.d̠ɹ̠ ̝ʷən]
Audio (US) (file)
- (UK dialectal, General Australian, New Zealand) IPA(key): /ˈt͡ʃʊldɹən/
- (General Australian) IPA(key): [ˈt͡ʃʊld̠ɹ̠ ̝ʷən]
- Rhymes: -ɪldɹən, -ʊldɹən
- Hyphenation: chil‧dren
- plural of child.
- 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess:
- ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. […]’
- 2013 June 14, Jonathan Freedland, “Obama's once hip brand is now tainted”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 18:
- Now we are liberal with our innermost secrets, spraying them into the public ether with a generosity our forebears could not have imagined. Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet.
From childre (“children”) with a pleonastic addition of the plural suffix -en; compare calveren, eyren, lambren.