from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A portable enclosure in which a baby or young child can be safely left to play.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An enclosed space for children to play in.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a portable enclosure in which babies may be left to play


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • Hilarious (to me, anyway) article about the demise of the playpen (or at least the WORD playpen) can be read here, at

    My favorite part:

    "Whatever its name, the concept of the playpen reveals yet another fault line in the politics of anxious parenting, as I found via a simple inquiry—whether the playpen was in or out of vogue—at, a site that combines the neurotic firepower of Woody Allen's 1970s oeuvre with the conviviality-tinged-with-hostility of the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars."

    Also, given Treeseed's list title at right, I'm reminded of the story my much-older brother tells of me blathering at him when confined in a playpen and not able to speak proper English yet: He wasn't listening, so I dropped a toy truck on his head.

    I don't remember this event, but it sure explains a lot.

    August 7, 2009