Dictionary

maternal

adjective ma·ter·nal \mə-ˈtər-nəl\

: of or relating to a mother

: of or relating to a woman who is having a baby

: related through the mother

Full Definition of MATERNAL

1
:  of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of a mother :  motherly
2
a :  related through a mother <his maternal aunt>
b :  inherited or derived from the female parent <maternal genes>
ma·ter·nal·ly \-nəl-ē\ adverb

Examples of MATERNAL

  1. Doctors are concerned about the effects of the drug on maternal health.
  2. <her maternal instincts told her that something was wrong>

Origin of MATERNAL

Middle English, from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French maternel, from Medieval Latin maternalis, from Latin maternus, from mater mother — more at mother
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Genetics Terms

chimera, hermaphrodite, plasticity
MATERNALLY Defined for Kids

maternal

adjective ma·ter·nal \mə-ˈtər-nəl\

Definition of MATERNAL for Kids

1
:  of or relating to a mother <maternal instincts>
2
:  related through the mother <maternal grandparents>
ma·ter·nal·ly adverb

Word Root of MATERNAL

The Latin word mater, meaning mother, gives us the root mater or matr. Anyone or anything maternal, such as a grandparent, is related through the mother's side of the family. Maternity is the state of being a mother. A matriarch is a woman who is the mother and head of a family. A matron is a married woman who may be a mother.
Medical Dictionary

maternal

adjective ma·ter·nal \mə-ˈtərn-əl\

Medical Definition of MATERNAL

1
:  of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of a mother <maternal instinct>
2
a :  related through a mother <his maternal aunt> b :  inherited or derived from the female parent <maternal genes>
ma·ter·nal·ly \-əl-ē\ adverb

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