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 these two words 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 from this article.

Table Summarising the Difference between Childish and Child-like

Childish Child-like
Meaning 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.
Usage It is used as an adjective It is used as an adjective
Example 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 are 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 these in. Only then can they use these terms correctly in sentences.

The Difference between Childish and Child-like – Meanings

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, someone who doesn’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 that are similar to those of children like innocence, goodness, gullibility etc. A person having child-like attributes means that they have retained good qualities or lack negative qualities as adults. However, both the terms ‘childish’ and ‘child-like’ are used as adjectives.

Examples of Childish and Child-like

The following examples 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 heart.

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 the correct usage of these two terms. BYJU’S offers many such ‘Differences Between Two Words’ that people often get confused with.


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