AskDefine | Define childless

Dictionary Definition

childless adj : without offspring; "in some societies a childless woman is rejected by her tribesmen"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Not having any children


Not having any children

Extensive Definition

Childless is a term that refers to a person or couple that does not have any children. Childlessness may be the result of:
  • a deliberate choice (childfree),
  • circumstance, or
  • infertility or other health problems that would prevent or preclude them from having children.

Childless by choice

Some people are childless by choice, meaning that they have made a conscious decision not to have children. Childfree is a term that is coming into use as an alternative, indicating that they do not see the absence of having a child as lacking in any way, as the suffix -less seems to imply. To accomplish the goal of remaining childfree, they may even undergo medical sterilization.

Childless by circumstance

Some people are childless by circumstance, meaning that they have not made a conscious choice to never have children, nor is there anything medically preventing them from having children. They may be childless while pursuing a career or are simply delaying child-rearing until they are financially stable. They may also be wanting children but are single, or partnered to somebody who is ambivalent or against having children. See
In the United States, lack of childcare, public education, and healthcare add to concerns for the future of many middle class young couples, causing them to give-up on initial plans of having children.

Childless by infertility or other medical condition

Some people are childless, not because of choice or temporary circumstance, but as the result of infertility or another medical problem, such as a medically-necessary hysterectomy, which makes it difficult or impossible to have children.


childless in German: Kinderlosigkeit
childless in Lithuanian: Bevaikystė

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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