1. A child in the earliest period of life, especially before being able to walk.
2. Law A person under the legal age of majority; a minor.
3. A very young nonhuman mammal, especially a primate.
1. Of or being in infancy.
2. Intended for infants or young children.
3. Newly begun or formed: an infant enterprise.
[Middle English, from Old French enfant, from Latin īnfāns, īnfant-, from īnfāns, not able to speak, young : in-, not; see IN-1 + fāns, present participle of fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.