AskDefine | Define babysit

Dictionary Definition

baby-sit v : work or act as a baby-sitter; "I cannot baby-sit tonight; I have too much homework to do" [syn: sit] [also: baby-sitting, baby-sat]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings



Compound of baby + sit.



  1. To watch or tend someone else's child for a period of time, often for money.
  2. To watch or attend anything or anyone unnecessarily closely; to have to help or coax too much.
    He left me to babysit the new guy while he got some work done.

Related terms


To watch or tend someone else's child for a period of time, often for money
To watch or attend anything or anyone unnecessarily closely

Extensive Definition

Babysitting is the practice of temporarily caring for a child on behalf of the child's parents. Babysitting is most commonly performed as an odd job by teenagers for extra money, stereotypically, but not necessarily, girls. Babysitting can be quite lucrative in some countries, but rates vary considerably according to the location. According to Runzheimer International's Mobility Report, average hourly rates in September 2005 in the United States of America are $6.04. In New York City, the average is $11.08, whereas in some places in the U.S., the average is $2.90. Babysitters are often employed on Friday and Saturday nights when parents wish to go out. A babysitter is distinguished from a nanny by the term of employment; while some parents may have a regular babysitter "on retainer," so to speak, the sitter is normally contracted one night at a time.
The term "baby-sit" (from "baby" plus the agent form of "sit") first appeared in 1937, and its short-form "sitter" is attested from 1943. The use of the word "sit" to abbreviate "to baby-sit" is recorded from 1800. The term probably originated from the action of the caretaker "sitting with" the baby in one room, while the parents were entertaining or busy in another.
The American Red Cross offers a babysitters' safety course. This course teaches important safety to babysitters. These include rescuing a choking victim and fire safety. At the end of the course, the completee is given a certificate of completion.


According to a Juvenile Justice Bulletin from September 2001, babysitters commit about 4.2% of crimes against children less than 6 years old in the United States.

External links


babysit in Guarani: Mitãrerekua
babysit in German: Babysitter
babysit in Spanish: Niñera
babysit in Italian: Babysitter
babysit in Japanese: ベビーシッター
babysit in Swedish: Barnvakt
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