Difference between Childish and Child-like | Childish vs Child-like

You might have often heard the words ‘child-like’ and ‘childish’. Have you ever wondered whether they both mean the same or not? Not only you but most people who have heard about these words have this idea that they probably represent the same thing because they both have the word ‘child’ in them.

This article will talk about all the essential aspects that one needs to know about the words ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’. The English Language has many such words which often confuse people and are misinterpreted as a result. Let us look at the following topics that we will get to know about from this article.

Table Summarising the Difference between Childish and Child-like




It denotes the behaviour of someone who is immature.

It refers to qualities that someone possesses that are similar to a child like goodness, innocence etc.


It is used as an adjective

It is used as an adjective


Though Raj is 30 years old, he behaves quite childishly.

Sheldon has a child-like fondness for trains.

This table shows that ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’ are entirely different from one another but is inspired by the qualities found in a child. Most people get confused between these words, but it’s essential that they understand the context they are using it in. Only then can they use these terms correctly.

The Difference between Childish and Child-like – Meaning

If you ask someone to differentiate between the terms ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’, there’s a high chance that the majority of them would say these terms are synonymous. But if you look up the words in the dictionary, you’ll see that both are different. The word ‘childish’ is often used in a negative way, i.e. it’s used as an adjective to describe someone who lacks maturity, i.e. they don’t behave according to their age. On the other hand, the word ‘child-like’ is used in a positive way to denote the good qualities that a person has similar to a child-like innocence, goodness, gullibility etc. A person having child-like attributes means that they have retained the good qualities even if they are adults. However, both the terms ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’ are used as an adjective.

Example of Childish and Child-like

The following example will help students to better understand the terms ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’.

Childish – Sam’s childish behaviour annoyed many people.

Child-like – Steve has a child-like pure at heart nature.

Once people understand the meaning of ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’, they can quickly form examples on their own.

Childish and Child-like – Conclusion

To sum up, ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’ are not synonymous and can’t be used interchangeably. When one is using these words, one has to understand the context or will end up misusing them. This article talks about the essential points that help one to know how to use these two terms. BYJU’S offers many such ‘differences between two words’ that people often get confused with.

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