Is there a specific word for adult offspring? If all of your "children" are now in their adulthood, is there a specific word to refer to them?

  • 4
    No, children does not necessarily imply childhood. I am still the child of my parents and will be until I die, no matter what my age.
    – terdon
    Mar 4 '14 at 21:43
  • @terdon that's true, but is there a specific word to avoid any ambiguity in conversation?
    – Moogle
    Mar 4 '14 at 21:45
  • 1
    There is no word. I use kids when speaking to adults about my grown children, because it has less the connotation of youth (I think), but I have run into that problem myself. I sometimes feel the need to say, my children, now adults... or my married children when I want to avoid kids. Mar 4 '14 at 21:48

Most groups and organizations use the phrase adult child(ren).

  • 1
    I find myself in the rare position of agreeing with RyeBread. There is a group the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) whose website is adultchildren.org So, this is definitely a common usage.
    – David M
    Mar 4 '14 at 21:57
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    @DavidM - The longer you know me the more you will agree with me. I have delusional powers. Mar 4 '14 at 22:01
  • @terdon - I thought it was perfect. Mar 4 '14 at 23:46
  • 1
    @terdon - Who doesn't have delusional powers? Mar 5 '14 at 0:01
  • 1
    @Susan - Delusion is the greatest gift. Well that and smirking every day when Brad jumps online and I see my answers mass downvoted. Mar 5 '14 at 0:06

The point is that the word child(ren) has more than one meaning, or implied use. Consider the following sentence:

'My children (aged 36 and 32) constantly complain that I treat them as children'. That should illustrate what I mean.

And I have no doubt that these and other meanings will be confirmed by the OED.


You could say offspring, though people would probably look at you strangely.

  • As long as people know I am speaking with 'a knowing sense of post-modernist irony' I feel perfectly at ease referring to mine as my 'offspring', my'progeny', my 'spawn', my 'brood', indeed 'the fruit of my loins'.
    – WS2
    Mar 4 '14 at 22:05
  • 2
    @WS2, I'd hide if you were my dad (mom?) and you referred to me as the "fruit of your loins". I mean...ewwww! lol! Mar 4 '14 at 22:51
  • @kristina I think you have got the point!
    – user63230
    Mar 5 '14 at 0:00
  • @WS2 I've always taken "post-modernist" to be ironic. But isn't it more fun when people don't know?
    – user63230
    Mar 5 '14 at 0:04
  • @KristinaLopez Well, perhaps I did exaggerate. Don't tell them! But it was my daughter who came home from university after her first term claiming she could, wear anything, say anything etc. so long as she did it with 'kspmi'.
    – WS2
    Mar 5 '14 at 8:47

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