child

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latchkey child

A child who is home alone after school or in general because their parents or guardians are at 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.
See also: child, latchkey

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.
See also: burnt, child, 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.
See also: child, great

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.
See also: big, child

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.
See also: child, heavy

problem child

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.
See also: child, problem

love child

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.
See also: child, love

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.
See also: play

be like a child in a sweetshop

To be so excited about one's surroundings that one acts in a childlike or silly way. Liam loves football so much that he's like a child in a sweetshop any time he steps into the stadium.
See also: child, like

boomerang child

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.
See also: child

with child

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!
See also: child

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.
See also: child, father, man, of

child's play

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.
See also: play

poster child

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.
See also: child, poster

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.
See also: burnt, child, fire

child is father of the man

 and 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.
See also: child, father, man, of

child's play

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.
See also: play

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.
See also: child, father, know, own, that, wise

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.
See also: child, face, fair, of

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.
See also: child, poster

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.
See also: and, child, rod, spare, spoil

*with 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.
See also: child

child's play

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."
See also: play

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.
See also: and, child, rod, spare, spoil

child's play

COMMON If something is child's play, it is very easy to do, especially compared with something else that is very difficult. He thought the work would be child's play. The problem in Western Europe was described by one EU energy expert as child's play compared to that in Eastern Europe.
See also: play

like a child in a sweet shop

BRITISH
If you are like a child in a sweet shop in a particular situation, you are very happy and excited because of something you can do or have, and often behave in a greedy or uncontrolled way. With so many options before me, I was like a child in a sweet shop. Note: The usual American expression is like a kid in a candy store.
See also: child, like, shop, sweet

a poster child for something

mainly AMERICAN
If someone is a poster child for a quality, activity, or situation, people associate them with it because they are a very good or clear example of it. Bethany McLean has become the poster child for financial journalists. Note: You can also say that someone is a poster boy for or a poster girl for something. There was a time when it seemed you were a poster girl for late motherhood. He's the poster boy for rugby worldwide. Note: A poster child is literally a young person who appears on a poster advertising something.
See also: child, poster, something

spare the rod and spoil the child

People say spare the rod and spoil the child, to mean that if you do not punish a child severely when the child behaves badly, their behaviour will become worse. Kids needed authority figures — spare the rod and spoil the child. Note: People sometimes just say spare the rod. We believe in discipline. We don't spare the rod.
See also: and, child, rod, spare, spoil

someone or something from hell

n. someone or something very intense, annoying, or challenging. (As if the person or thing were a demon from hell.) I just came back from a cruise from hell and have lots of horror stories to tell about the trip.
See also: hell, something

with child

Pregnant.
See also: child
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