It’s Okay To Say “Kids” When You Mean “Children”

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It really is okay to refer to children as kids.

According to Etymology Online, the slang use of kid to mean “human child” was first recorded in the 1590s, and it was established in informal usage by the 1840s.

There’s no sense arguing that kid “means” a young goat. It has also commonly meant “a human child” for at least 170 years, and this practice has been widespread across the U.S. for decades. If this isn’t an example of a word whose meaning has broadened by time and popular usage, I don’t know what is.

Child or children is still preferred in formal contexts, but every dictionary includes the “child” definition and certainly no one would confuse your reference with a baby goat.

If you are in the habit of correcting people who refer to children as kids, please stop. Silly goat.

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About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. James Rogers
    James Rogers02-27-2014

    As a person who had goats for pets when I was young, I really appreciate your short blog. Enjoyed it very much and it was….really was….very informative

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko02-27-2014

      I’m happy to have a goat expert backing me up! 🙂

  2. Julie L. Casey
    Julie L. Casey02-26-2014

    Wow, I didn’t know it has been around that long. Thank you for the fascinating information.

  3. Sandy
    Sandy02-26-2014

    Your kidding, right?

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