child(redirected from childlessness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A school-age child who is unsupervised after school or in general, due to his or her parents being away for work. I know it makes me sound horrible, but I just don't want Tommy hanging out with those latchkey children from down the road. Being a latchkey child was tough at times, but it taught me the value of self-reliance at an earlier age than most.
a burnt child dreads the fire
Someone who has experienced some kind of negative situation or consequence will try to avoid making the same mistake or experiencing the same situation again. Joseph refuses to invest any money after losing his retirement fund during the stock market crash; a burnt child dreads the fire.
great with child
Very visibly pregnant. ("With child" is a euphemism for "pregnant.") I'm only a few months pregnant, and I'm already great with child! I guess it's time to invest in some maternity clothes.
big with child
Very visibly pregnant, often because the baby's due date is near. ("With child" is a euphemism for "pregnant.") I am so big with child right now, but at least the baby is due next week.
heavy with child
Very visibly pregnant, often because the baby's due date is near. ("With child" is a euphemism for "pregnant.") I am heavy with child right now, but at least the baby is due next week.
1. A child who is prone to wild or disobedient behavior. I know it's hard to believe now that he's a successful lawyer, but Timmy was a total problem child and constantly got into trouble! Debbie just keeps misbehaving no matter what we do—do you have any suggestions for dealing with a problem child?
2. One aspect of a company that is not performing as well as others. At this point, our retail store has become such a problem child that management is probably going to close it down before it bankrupts us.
3. A product that requires a lot of attention and funding in order to be successful. I know you all see this book as a problem child, but I really do think that it can a bestseller with the right marketing approach.
A child born out of wedlock. The candidate's campaign was in jeopardy after the media uncovered a love child he had with his secret mistress.
be child's play
1. To be very easy. Oh please, I've been playing guitar for 20 years—that song is child's play.
2. To be insignificant. Those drafts are child's play compared to my latest one—I think I really have a strong argument now.
be like a child in a sweetshop
To be so excited about one's surroundings that one acts in a childlike or silly way. Primarily heard in UK. Liam loves football so much that he's like a child in a sweetshop any time he steps into the stadium.
An adult child who has resumed living with their parents after previously moving out. I never planned to be a boomerang child—but then I got laid off.
Pregnant. Although still used today, this term is somewhat formal and old-fashioned. Yes, it's true—I'm with child and about three months along! Did you hear that Marissa is with child? Such happy news!
the child is father of the man
The personality traits that one displays as an adult form in childhood. He's always been a quiet, analytical person—the child is father of the man, after all.
1. A very easy task. Oh please, I've been playing guitar for 20 years—that song is child's play.
2. Something that is insignificant. Those drafts are child's play compared to my latest one—I think I really have a strong argument now.
A person (usually an adult, not a child) who typifies or is the perfect example of a particular characteristic, attitude, opinion, cause, or type of person. Pete managed to disassemble their washing machine, fix the problem, and then reassemble it all by himself? Wow, he's like the poster child of DIY. Ms. Walsh built her fortune from nothing, through her own tireless work and intense ambition. She really is the poster child for the rags-to-riches American Dream.
A burnt child dreads the fire.
Prov. If something has hurt you once, you avoid it after that. (See also .) Jill: Let's go ride the roller coaster! Jane: No, thanks. I got sick on one of those once, and a burnt child dreads the fire. Ever since Cynthia rebuffed me so rudely, I've avoided asking her for anything; a burnt child dreads the fire.
child is father of the manand child is father to the man
Prov. People's personalities form when they are children; A person will have the same qualities as an adult that he or she had as a child. (From William Wordsworth's poem, "My Heart Leaps Up.") In Bill's case, the child was father of the man; he never lost his childhood delight in observing nature.
something very easy to do. The test was child's play to those who took good notes. Finding the right street was child's play with a map.
It is a wise child that knows its own father.
Prov. You can never have certain proof that a certain man is your father. (Implies that the child in question might be illegitimate.) It is a wise child that knows its own father, but Emily is so much like her dad that there's very little uncertainty.
Monday's child is fair of face.
Prov. A child born on Monday will be good-looking. (This comes from a rhyme that tells what children will be like, according to which day they are born: "Monday's child is fair of face, / Tuesday's child is full of grace, / Wednesday's child is full of woe, / Thursday's child has far to go, / Friday's child is loving and giving, / Saturday's child works hard for a living, / But a child that is born on the Sabbath day / Is blithe and bonny, good and gay.") Joan is so pretty, she must be a Monday's child. Monday's child is fair of face.
poster child (for something)
Fig. someone who is a classic example of a state or type of person. She is a poster child for soccer moms.
spare the rod and spoil the child.
Prov. You should punish a child when he or she misbehaves, because if you do not, the child will grow up expecting everyone to indulge him or her. Jane: How can you allow your little boy to be so rude? Ellen: It distresses me to punish him. Jane: lean understand that, but spare the rod and spoil the child.
Euph. pregnant. (Biblical. *Typically: be ~; get a woman ~.) The first thing he did after he got married was to get his wife with child. She deliberately set out to get herself with child, as they say.
pregnant She went back to her parents' home when she discovered she was with child.
Usage notes: used by people who think it is not polite to say pregnant, or for humorous effect
be child's play
to be very easy Using this new computer is child's play.
be like a child in a sweetshop(British)
to be very happy and excited about the things around you, and often to react to them in a way which is silly and not controlled Give him a room full of old books and he's like a child in a sweetshop.
be with child(old-fashioned)
to be pregnant Emily was unable to make the journey, being heavy with child.
the [child/house/mother, etc.] from hell(humorous)
the worst or most unpleasant person or thing of that type that anyone can imagine His mother's awful. She really is the mother-in-law from hell.
See also: hell
a latchkey child/kid(mainly American)
a child who is often in the house alone because both parents are at work My dad came home at seven in the evening and my mom only an hour earlier so I was a latchkey kid.
a love child
a child whose parents are not married to each other He allegedly has a love child in Australia from an affair with a much younger woman.
Something easily done, a trivial matter. For example, Finding the answer was child's play for Robert, or The fight we had was child's play compared to the one I had with my mother! Originating in the early 1300s as child's game, the idiom was already used in its present form by Chaucer in The Merchant's Tale: "It is no child's play to take a wife."
spare the rod and spoil the child
Discipline is necessary for good upbringing, as in She lets Richard get away with anything-spare the rod, you know. This adage appears in the Bible (Proverbs 13:24) and made its way into practically every proverb collection. It originally referred to corporal punishment. It is still quoted, often in shortened form, and today does not necessarily mean physical discipline.