What does “child’s play” mean?

Explore the meaning of "child's play" as an idiomatic phrase that refers to something very easy to do or without significant challenge. Discover synonyms and cultural variations in language.

Understanding “Child’s Play”

Child’s play is an English idiomatic phrase that refers to something that is very easy to do or without significant challenge.

This way of talking about levels of difficulty relates the abilities of an adult to those of a child, pointing out that with less development, a child can only master easier tasks.

Below are three brief definitions of the idiom:

  1. Something that is very easy to do.
  2. A task that requires little effort to complete.
  3. An activity that is not challenging.

Here are three example sentences that use the idiom:

  1. “For John, fixing the car was child’s play.”
  2. “Sarah found the math problem to be child’s play.”
  3. “Cooking a meal for ten people was child’s play for the experienced chef.”

Here are three synonyms of the idiom:

  1. Easy as pie
  2. A piece of cake
  3. A walk in the park

Etymology and Usage

The origin of the phrase “child’s play” is unclear, but it has been in use since the 16th century.

The phrase is commonly used in both formal and informal contexts, including literature, movies, and everyday conversation.

The phrase can be found in most English dictionaries, as well as bilingual dictionaries.

Comparative Simplicity

The phrase “child’s play” is often used to compare the simplicity of a task to that of a child’s play.

It is used to emphasize how easy the task is and how little effort is required to complete it.

The phrase is also used to highlight the difference in skill level between an adult and a child.

Is “castle in the air” similar to “child’s play” in meaning or usage?

The meaning of “castle in the air” and “child’s play” differ in both meaning and usage. “Castle in the air” refers to an unrealistic dream or fantasy, while “child’s play” usually denotes something simple or easy.

Therefore, they are not similar in meaning or usage.

Cultural Variations in Language

While the phrase “child’s play” is commonly used in English, other cultures have their own idiomatic expressions to convey the same idea.

For example, in Spanish, the phrase “pan comido” (literally “eaten bread”) is used to describe something that is very easy to do.

In French, the phrase “un jeu d’enfant” (literally “a child’s game”) is used in the same way.