childish, childlike
Both words tend now to be used to describe the behaviour of adolescents and adults rather than children. Childish has developed a generally depreciatory meaning ‘having the immature characteristics of a child’, whereas childlike has the favourable meaning ‘having the good qualities (such as innocence) associated with a child’. Examples:

• His childlike curiosity about life was held in check by childish timidity —M. Holroyd, 1974

• John observing his daughter, saw her now as more grown-up, less childish —Iris Murdoch, 1976

• He captures the artist's childlike earnestness and charm, but is not always so successful with the moments of stormy intensity —New Zealand Listener, 2004.

Modern English usage. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Childish — Child ish (ch[imac]ld [i^]sh), a. 1. Of, pertaining to, befitting, or resembling, a child. Childish innocence. Macaulay. [1913 Webster] 2. Puerile; trifling; weak. [1913 Webster] Methinks that simplicity in her countenance is rather childish than …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Childish — can refer to: Being in the manner of a child English writer and musician Billy Childish This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal link led you here, you may wish to chan …   Wikipedia

  • childish — index frivolous, jejune (lacking maturity), juvenile, naive, puerile Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • childish — O.E. cildisc proper to a child, from CHILD (Cf. child) + ISH (Cf. ish). Meaning puerile, immature, like a child in a bad sense is from early 15c. Related: Childishness …   Etymology dictionary

  • childish — *childlike Analogous words: puerile, boyish, *youthful: *simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine Antonyms: mature, grown up Contrasted words: adult, matured (see MATURE): manly, manful, virile, manlike (see MALE): womanly, womanlike (see FEMALE) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • childish — [adj] immature, silly adolescent, baby, babyish, callow, childlike, foolish, frivolous, green, infantile, infantine, innocent, jejune, juvenile, kid stuff*, naive, puerile, unsophisticated, young, youthful; concepts 401,402,424,578,797 Ant. adult …   New thesaurus

  • childish — ► ADJECTIVE 1) of, like, or appropriate to a child. 2) silly and immature. DERIVATIVES childishly adverb childishness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • childish — [chīl′dish] adj. [ME < OE cildisc: see CHILD & ISH] 1. of, like, or characteristic of a child 2. not fit for an adult; immature; silly SYN. CHILDLIKE childishly adv. childishness n …   English World dictionary

  • Childish — Billy Childish Billy Childish (eigentlich William Charlie Hamper, * 1. Dezember 1959 in Chatham, Kent) ist ein britischer Sänger und Produzent von Independent Rockmusik. Neben seinen musikalischen Projekten betätigt er sich auch als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • childish — childishly, adv. childishness, n. /chuyl dish/, adj. 1. of, like, or befitting a child: childish games. 2. puerile; weak; silly: childish fears. [bef. 1000; ME childisch, OE cildisc. See CHILD, ISH1] Syn. CHILDISH, INFANTILE, CHILDLIKE refer to… …   Universalium

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