Learn English – Can “childs” ever be the plural of “child”, in standard English


Is the word childs ever used instead of children for the plural of child? And was it ever a part of standard English vocabulary but later neglected?

Best Answer

No, "childs" was never a plural of child. See Etymononline's entry for child:

The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first cild, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form cildru (genitive cildra) arose, probably for clarity's sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as children, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural cildre survives in Lancashire dialect childer and in Childermas.

The German equivalent of children is Kinder, the Dutch kinderen. The plural form with r in children seems very stable. So it is improbable that children will ever be replaced with childs.