noun, plural ba·bies.
- an infant or very young child.
- a newborn or very young animal.
- the youngest member of a family, group, etc.
- an immature or childish person.
- a human fetus.
- Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.a girl or woman, especially an attractive one.
- a person of whom one is deeply fond; sweetheart.
- (sometimes initial capital letter)an affectionate or familiar address (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).
- a man or boy; chap; fellow: He’s a tough baby to have to deal with.
- an invention, creation, project, or the like that requires one’s special attention or expertise or of which one is especially proud.
- an object; thing: Is that car there your baby?
- of or suitable for a baby: baby clothes.
- of or like a baby; infantile: baby skin.
- small; comparatively little: a baby car.
- treating babies: a baby doctor.
verb (used with object), ba·bied, ba·by·ing.
- to treat like a young child; pamper.
- to handle or use with special care; treat gently.
noun plural -bies
- a newborn or recently born child; infant
- (as modifier)baby food
- an unborn child; fetus
- the youngest or smallest of a family or group
- a newborn or recently born animal
- (as modifier)baby rabbits
- usually derogatory an immature person
- slang a young woman or sweetheart: often used as a term of address expressing affection
- a project of personal concern
- be left holding the baby to be left with the responsibility
- throw the baby out with the bath water to lose the essential element by indiscriminate rejection
- (prenominal) comparatively small of its typea baby car
verb -bies, -bying or -bied (tr)
- to treat with love and attention
- to treat (someone) like a baby; pamper or overprotect
1753, from baby (n.) + -ish. Earlier in same sense was babish (1530s).
late 14c., babi, diminutive of baban (see babe + -y (3)). Meaning “childish adult person” is from c.1600. Meaning “youngest of a group” is from 1897. As a term of endearment for one’s lover it is attested perhaps as early as 1839, certainly by 1901; its popularity perhaps boosted by baby vamp “a popular girl,” student slang from c.1922. As an adjective, by 1750.
Baby food is from 1833. Baby blues for “blue eyes” recorded by 1892 (the phrase also was used for “postpartum depression” 1950s-60s). To empty the baby out with the bath (water) is first recorded 1909 in G.B. Shaw (cf. German das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten). Baby’s breath (noted for sweet smell, which also was supposed to attract cats) as a type of flower is from 1897. French bébé (19c.) is from English.
“to treat like a baby,” 1742, from baby (n.). Related: Babied; babying.
- A very young child; an infant.
see throw out the baby with the bath water.