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[chahyld-lahyk] /ˈtʃaɪldˌlaɪk/
like a child, as in innocence, frankness, etc.; befitting a child:
childlike trust.
Origin of childlike
1580-90; child + -like
Related forms
childlikeness, noun
unchildlike, adjective
Can be confused
childish, childlike (see synonym study at childish)
young, ingenuous, simple, guileless, trusting, innocent. See childish.
sophisticated, adult. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for childlike
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Oh, my dear brother, pray that I may be humble, and of a childlike spirit.

  • The American business man must, I imagine, have a gentle and childlike heart.

    Gossamer George A. Birmingham
  • At times he even displayed a childlike gaiety, and sometimes jested at the very circumstances which caused him the most suffering.

    The Last Days of Tolstoy V. G. Chertkov
  • The simplicity of his faith in advanced life was childlike, and sublime.

    The Story of My Life Egerton Ryerson
  • Her hand, small and childlike, though less round and soft than it had been two years ago, caressed my cheek when I bent over her.

British Dictionary definitions for childlike


like or befitting a child, as in being innocent, trustful, etc Compare childish (sense 2)
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 childlike

1580s, "proper to a child," from child + like. Meaning "like a child" in a good sense (distinguished from childish) is from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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