Simple Definition of maternal
: of or relating to a mother
: of or relating to a woman who is having a baby
: related through the mother
Examples of maternal in a sentence
Doctors are concerned about the effects of the drug on maternal health.
<her maternal instincts told her that something was wrong>
Origin and Etymology 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
MATERNAL Defined for Kids
Definition of maternal for Students
1 : of or relating to a mother <maternal instincts>
2 : related through the mother <maternal grandparents>
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 Definition of maternal
1: of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of a mother <maternal instinct>
2a: related through a mother <his maternal aunt>b: inherited or derived from the female parent <maternal genes>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up maternal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).