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[chahyl-dish] /ˈtʃaɪl dɪʃ/
of, like, or befitting a child:
childish games.
puerile; weak; silly:
childish fears.
Origin of childish
before 1000; Middle English childisch, Old English cildisc. See child, -ish1
Related forms
childishly, adverb
childishness, noun
overchildish, adjective
overchildishly, adverb
overchildishness, noun
unchildish, adjective
unchildishly, adverb
unchildishness, noun
Can be confused
childish, childlike (see synonym study at the current entry)
Childish, infantile, childlike refer to characteristics or qualities of childhood. The ending -ish often has unfavorable connotations; childish therefore refers to characteristics that are undesirable and unpleasant: childish selfishness, outbursts of temper. Infantile, originally a general word, now often carries an even stronger idea of disapproval or scorn than does childish : infantile reasoning, behavior. The ending -like has pleasing or neutral connotations; childlike therefore refers to the characteristics that are desirable and admirable: childlike innocence, trust.
mature, adult. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for childishness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Such a mood, in spite of its element of childishness, was yet a good one with him.

    Quisant Anthony Hope
  • He smiled now at the childishness of his attitude toward Nan.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • Instead, he showed his childishness once more, shooting the dead leopard again, this time through the head.

    Pan Knut Hamsun
  • He is one of the few people I know who can sympathize with my own childishness.

    Nights in London Thomas Burke
  • He broke down utterly at its advent, not so much because of his bad qualities as because of his childishness.

  • This childishness our country has not yet succeeded in getting rid of.

    My Reminiscences Rabindranath Tagore
  • Claire smiled to herself at the childishness of the display.

    The Independence of Claire Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • And the poor child smiled at her own childishness and simplicity.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
British Dictionary definitions for childishness


in the manner of, belonging to, or suitable to a child
foolish or petty; puerile: childish fears
Derived Forms
childishly, adverb
childishness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for childishness



Old English cildisc "proper to a child;" see child + -ish. Meaning "puerile, immature, like a child" in a bad sense is from early 15c. Related: Childishly; childishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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