How many children do you have?
noun (plural children )
1 a young boy or girl:
There are 30 children in the class.
2 a daughter or son:
Have you got any children?
One of her children got married last year.
chil‧dren /ˈtʃɪldrən/ BrE AmE
the plural of ↑child
child S1 W1 /tʃaɪld/ BrE AmE noun (plural children /ˈtʃɪldrən/) [countable]
[Language: Old English; Origin: cild]
1. YOUNG PERSON someone who is not yet an adult SYN kid:
The hotel is ideal for families with young children.
The film is not suitable for children under 12.
I was very happy as a child (=when I was a child).
a child of five/eight etc
For a child of five this was a terrifying experience.
a famous writer of children’s books
child victims of war
2. SON/DAUGHTER a son or daughter of any age:
I have five children, all happily married.
She lives with her husband, Paul, and three grown-up children.
Annie had always wanted to get married and have children.
Alex is an only child (=he has no brothers or sisters).
Our youngest child, Sam, has just started university.
eldest child especially BrE, oldest child especially American English
the decision to bring a child into the world (=have a baby)
3. SOMEBODY INFLUENCED BY AN IDEA someone who is very strongly influenced by the ideas and attitudes of a particular period of history
a real child of the sixties
4. SOMEBODY WHO IS LIKE A CHILD someone who behaves like a child and is not sensible or responsible – used to show disapproval:
She’s such a child!
5. something is child’s play used to say that something is very easy to do:
I’ve cooked for 200 people before now. So, tonight is child’s play by comparison.
6. children should be seen and not heard an expression meaning that children should be quiet and not talk – used when you disapprove of the way a child is behaving
7. be with child old use to be ↑pregnant
8. be heavy/great with child old use to be nearly ready to give birth
• • •
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + child
▪ a four-year-old/ten-year-old etc child A four-year-old child should not be left on their own.
▪ a young child Young children are naturally curious about the world.
▪ a small child (=a young one) My family lived in France when I was a small child.
▪ a newborn child He was holding the newborn child in his arms.
▪ an unborn child (=a baby that is still inside its mother) Smoking can damage your unborn child.
▪ a spoilt/spoiled child (=allowed to do or have whatever he or she wants, and behaving badly) He’s behaving like a spoilt child.
▪ a gifted child (=extremely intelligent) a special school for gifted children
▪ a bright child (=intelligent) He was a bright child – always asking questions.
▪ a good/bad child Be a good child and sit down!
▪ a naughty child (=doing things that are not allowed) He's behaving like a naughty child.
▪ an easy/difficult child (=easy or difficult to deal with) Marcus was a very happy, easy child.
▪ a problem child (=very difficult to deal with) Problem children may need to be removed from the classroom.
▪ an adopted child (=legally made part of a family that he or she was not born into) I didn’t find out that I was an adopted child until years later.
▪ street children (=living on the streets because they have no homes) The organization aims to help street children in Latin America.
▪ bring up a child especially British English, raise a child especially American English The cost of bringing up a child has risen rapidly.
▪ a child is born Most children at born in hospital.
▪ a child grows up One in four children is growing up in poverty.
■ child + NOUN
▪ child abuse (=treating children in a very bad way, especially sexually) He was arrested on suspicion of child abuse.
▪ child development She’s an expert in child development.
▪ child labour British English, child labor American English (=the use of children as workers) The garments were made using child labour.
• • •
▪ child someone who is not yet an adult. You don’t usually use child to talk about babies or teenagers: Many children are scared of the dark. | He’s just a child.
▪ kid informal a child. Kid is the usual word to use in everyday spoken English: We left the kids in the car.
▪ little boy/little girl a young male or female child: I lived there when I was a little girl. | Little boys love dinosaurs.
▪ teenager someone between the ages of 13 and 19: There’s not much for teenagers to do around here.
▪ adolescent a young person who is developing into an adult – used especially when talking about the problems these people have: He changed from a cheerful child to a confused adolescent.
▪ youth especially disapproving a teenage boy – especially one who is violent and commits crimes: He was attacked by a gang of youths. | a youth court
▪ youngster a child or young person – used especially by old people: You youngsters have got your whole life ahead of you. | He’s a bright youngster with a good sense of humour.
▪ minor law someone who is not yet legally an adult: It is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor.
child [child children] [tʃaɪld] [tʃaɪld] noun (pl. chil·dren [ˈtʃɪldrən] ; [ˈtʃɪldrən] )
1. a young human who is not yet an adult
• a child of three/a three-year-old child
• men, women and children
• an unborn child
• not suitable for young children
• I lived in London as a child.
• a child star
see also brainchild, latchkey child, poster child, schoolchild
2. a son or daughter of any age
• They have three grown-up children.
• a support group for adult children of alcoholics
• They can't have children.
see also godchild, grandchild, love child, only child, stepchild
3. a person who is strongly influenced by the ideas and attitudes of a particular time or person
• a child of the 90s
4. (disapproving) an adult who behaves like a child and is not mature or responsible
Idioms: child's play ▪ with child
Old English cild, of Germanic origin. The Middle English plural childer or childre became childeren or children by association with plurals ending in -en, such as brethren.
• a child of three/a three-year-old child
boy • • girl • • toddler • • baby • |informal kid • • youngster • • lad • |formal technical infant • |informal, disapproving brat • |law minor • • juvenile •
Opp: adult, Opp: grown-up
a young child/boy/girl/baby/kid/infant
a little child/boy/girl/baby/kid/brat
look after/take care of a child/baby/kid
Child or kid? Kid is much more frequent in informal and spoken American English. Child is not often used of sb older than about 12; above that age you can call them kids, teenagers, young people, girls, youths or lads.
• She has three children
son • • daughter • • boy • • girl • • baby • • kid •
a newborn child/son/daughter/boy/girl/baby
have/give birth to a child/son/daughter/boy/girl/baby/kid
bring up/raise a child/son/daughter/boy/girl/kid
Having a baby/child
want a baby/a child/kids
start a family
conceive/be expecting/be going to have a baby/child
miss your period
become/get/ be/find out that you are pregnant
have a baby/a child/kids/a son/a daughter/twins/a family
have a normal/a difficult/an unwanted pregnancy; an easy/a difficult/a home birth
be in/go into/induce labour (especially US) labor
have/suffer/cause a miscarriage
give birth to a child/baby/daughter/son/twins
bring up/ (especially NAmE) raise a child/family
care for/ (especially BrE) look after a baby/child/kid
change (BrE) a nappy/(NAmE) a diaper/a baby
feed/breastfeed/bottle-feed a baby
be entitled to/go on maternity/paternity leave
go back/return to work after maternity leave
need/find/get a babysitter/good quality affordable childcare
balance/combine work and childcare/child-rearing/family life
educate/teach/home-school a child/kid
punish/discipline/spoil a child/kid
adopt a baby/child/kid
offer a baby for/put a baby up for adoption
(especially BrE) foster a child/kid
be placed with/be raised by foster parents
• After they divorced, he refused to pay child support.
• Children grow up so quickly!
• He had old-fashioned ideas on how to bring up children.
• He's always been a problem child.
• How many children do you have?
• It was a bit lonely being an only child.
• My father died while I was still a small child.
• She couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child at birth.
• She didn't have her first child until she was nearly forty.
• She works in a centre for delinquent children.
• Teaching is particularly difficult when a class contains both slow and bright children.
• The children were quite unruly and ran around the house as if they owned it.
• Their first child was born with a rare heart condition.
• There are a lot of street children in the poorer parts of the city.
• They are expecting a child in June.
• We had trouble conceiving our first child.
• We have three teenage children.
• We've got three teenage children.
• What a precocious child— reading Jane Austen at the age of ten!
• You can't spoil a child by giving it all the affection it wants.
• a child custody dispute between divorced parents
• a school for gifted children
• an organization that campaigns for the rights of the unborn child
• big with child
• good food for growing children
• tax concessions for families with dependent children
• the bastard child of romantic fiction and horror.
• the emotional connections which ensure healthy child development
• therapy for sexually abused children
• All the children learn to swim from an early age.
• She was a child star but never made it as an adult.
• The book is aimed at the parents of pre-school children.
• The film is not suitable for young children.
• a child of three/a three-year-old child
• He took the children to Disneyland.
• I'm an only child.
• Will you put the children to bed
plural of child
Children is the plural of child.
Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.
A child is a human being who is not yet an adult.
When I was a child I lived in a country village...
He’s just a child.
...a child of six...
It was only suitable for children.
Someone’s children are their sons and daughters of any age.
How are the children?...
The young couple decided to have a child.
children plural of child
child /ˈʧajəld/ noun, pl chil·dren /ˈʧɪldrən/ [count]
1 : a young person
• the birth of a child
• She's pregnant with their first child.
• a play for both children and adults
• I went there once as a child. [=when I was a child]
- often used before another noun.
• a child prodigy
• a child actor
• child development
• child psychologists
2 : a son or daughter
• All of their children are grown now.
• an elderly couple and their adult children
3 : an adult who acts like a child : a childlike or childish person
• I'm a child when it comes to doing taxes. [=I need to be told or shown what to do]
• Men are such children sometimes.
4 : a person who has been strongly influenced by a certain place or time or by the events happening during that time
• She's a child of her time.
• a child of the Depression
children should be seen and not heard
- used to say that children should be quiet and well-behaved;
with child old-fashioned : pregnant
• She found herself with child. [=she discovered that she was pregnant]