al·​lo·​par·​ent ˈa-lə-ˌper-ənt How to pronounce alloparent (audio)
plural alloparents
: an individual other than the biological parent of an offspring that performs the functions of a parent (as by temporarily caring for an infant)
Alloparents are not unconditional caretakers; they won't devote scarce resources to other offspring at the expense of their own.Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 8 May 2000
alloparent verb, transitive + intransitive
alloparenting; alloparented; alloparents
… a key aspect of the human evolutionary pattern of reproduction and development involves the contribution of dependent children to alloparent younger kin. Paula Ivey Henry et al., in Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods, 2005
… discovering whether some individuals were more likely to alloparent than others, and if so, the attributes that were associated with this heightened likelihood of care. Peter H. Klopfer, in Non-Animal Techniques in Biomedical and Behavioral Research and Testing, 1993
alloparental adjective
males exhibiting alloparental behavior [=males who perform parental duties for offspring who are not biologically their own]

Word History


allo- + parent entry 1

First Known Use

1975, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alloparent was in 1975

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Dictionary Entries Near alloparent

Cite this Entry

“Alloparent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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