second childhood

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second childhood

1. A time in a person's life (especially an older person) when his or her mental capacity is reduced to that of a child, as due to disease or old age. After my grandfather suffered his second stroke, he really entered into a second childhood.
2. A period of rejuvenated or renewed interest in things that interest a child. Being a part of my son's life as he grows up has been like a second childhood for me, because seeing him experience the magic of the world has made me appreciate it again as well. Jerry's sort of been in his second childhood ever since he lost his job, as he's gotten back into model train building and video games.
See also: childhood, second

second childhood

The dotage of old age; also, childlike playfulness in an adult. For example, Grandpa needs full-time care, now that he's in his second childhood, or Since he retired and started learning to fly, he's been in his second childhood. Depending on the context, this term may allude either to such problems of old age as losing one's mental or physical capacities or to delighting in new pleasures in a childlike fashion. [c. 1900]
See also: childhood, second
References in classic literature ?
In short, you recommend me to anticipate the arrival of my second childhood," said poor Mr.
I am not in my second childhood yet, Richard," he replied, testily.
I may be in my second childhood, but I've not go so far as being dressed like a child.
I really would like to know, just in case I get invited to another fancy dress party as I navigate my second childhood.
Which is not as daft as it sounds because I often think I've entered my second childhood.
I'm going through my second childhood, even though I've just becomea grandfather.