noun, often attributive
\ ˈbərth How to pronounce birth (audio) \

Definition of birth

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent
b : the act or process of bringing forth young from the womb
2 : a state resulting from being born especially at a particular time or place a Southerner by birth
b : high or noble birth
4a archaic : one that is born


birthed; birthing; births

Definition of birth (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 chiefly dialectal : to bring forth
2a : to give rise to : originate
b : to give birth to

intransitive verb

: to bring forth or be brought forth as a child or young



Definition of birth (Entry 3 of 3)

: biological sense 3 his birth mother

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for birth

Synonyms: Noun

geniture, nativity

Synonyms: Verb

bear, deliver, drop, have, mother, produce

Synonyms: Adjective

biological (also biologic), consanguineous, natural

Antonyms: Adjective

adopted, adoptive, nonbiological

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of birth in a Sentence


He was present at the birth of his daughter. The hospital reported an increase in premature births. Please indicate your date of birth. the period from birth to adolescence a disease that is present at birth the birth of the solar system the birth of the blues We are witnessing the birth of a new era.


back in those days a woman her age would have birthed several children


argued that the birth mother had not been informed of all of her options at the time of the adoption
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are immensely grateful for the outpouring of love and support in anticipation of the birth of their first child. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have Received Hundreds of Baby Gifts," 5 Apr. 2019 As fans recall, season 4 ended with the birth of Stephanie's surrogate baby and Jimmy proposing to her. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Fuller House' Season 5 Sounds Like It's Going to Be a Wild Ride," 14 Mar. 2019 Native youth were galvanized by the birth of the Red Power movement. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "How Alcatraz Island Was Reclaimed by Native Peoples," 7 Mar. 2019 Jordyn escorted Kylie to her doctors appointments, indulged in her cravings with her, and obviously was there in the delivery room during the birth. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods' Friendship," 21 Feb. 2019 Terry Jo, who worked as a midwife, had suffered two miscarriages after the birth of her daughters, but the results of her amniocentesis and chromosome testing had come back normal. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018 Fans are finally getting to see some details of Khloé Kardashian's pregnancy and the birth of her daughter True. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Khloé Kardashian Had to Wear an Oxygen Mask During Labor," 16 Nov. 2018 Williams passed away on January 1, 1953 from a heart attack thought to be caused by a toxic combination of drugs five days after the birth of his daughter, Jett. Fox News, "9 of country music's most shocking moments," 4 Oct. 2018 Shaw and co-creator Dusty Thomason previously worked together on Manh(a)ttan, a series set in the New Mexico military encampment of Los Alamos, detailing the birth of the atomic bomb in the 1940s. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The slow-burn psychological horror of Castle Rock makes for must-see TV," 4 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her kids were birthed with no pain relief, and the danger of dying during childbirth is really, really high. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Jenna Coleman Reveals Why She Likes Playing Victoria Most When the Queen Is Pregnant," 14 Jan. 2019 Chinese scientists at a different research facility have had to use caesarean sections to birth lambs whose MSTN genes were deleted with Crispr, because some grew too large to be birthed naturally. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "Big Tongues and Extra Vertebrae: The Unintended Consequences of Animal Gene Editing," 14 Dec. 2018 The director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the spending spree on the final day of a conference in Washington celebrating its sixty-year history, including its storied role in birthing the internet. Zachary Fryer-biggs, The Verge, "The Pentagon plans to spend $2 billion to put more artificial intelligence into its weaponry," 8 Sep. 2018 Their performance on Kimmel’s show comes a few months after their September signing to Johnny Wright’s Wright Entertainment Group (WEG), which is famous for birthing fellow boy bands like New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC. Natalie Maher, Billboard, "In Real Life in Perfect Synch For 'Eyes Closed' on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!': Watch," 8 Feb. 2018 The Pacific is known for birthing some of the most intense storms on Earth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Super Typhoon Yutu has 180 mph winds. It just hit US territories in the Pacific.," 24 Oct. 2018 Epara Skincare View this post on Instagram A post shared by Luxury Skincare for Women (@eparaskincare) on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:45am PDT This luxury skincare line was birthed out of founder Ozohu Adoh's kitchen, but is now available at Barney's. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "The 15 Best Black-Owned Beauty Brands I'll Never Stop Talking About," 11 Feb. 2019 This shift in taste has birthed a slew of high-fat yogurts. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How low-fat dairy came to rule the US — and why that’s changing.," 20 Dec. 2018 Stepping forward a year before the hashtag's meteoric rise gave her a new purpose and birthed her best-selling book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, which was released just days after the Weinstein allegations were made public. Allison Mcgevna, Glamour, "A Year Later, Is the #MeToo Movement Stuck in Hollywood?," 5 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'birth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of birth


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1831, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for birth


Middle English, from Old Norse byrth; akin to Old English beran

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about birth

Statistics for birth

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for birth

The first known use of birth was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for birth



English Language Learners Definition of birth

: the time when a baby comes out from the body of its mother
: the beginning or origin of something
used to describe the kind of family a person comes from


\ ˈbərth How to pronounce birth (audio) \

Kids Definition of birth

1 : the coming of a new individual from the body of its parent
2 : the act of bringing into life
3 : lineage sense 1 a person of noble birth
4 : origin sense 3 the birth of a star


\ ˈbərth How to pronounce birth (audio) \

Medical Definition of birth

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent
2 : the act or process of bringing forth young from the womb

Medical Definition of birth (Entry 2 of 3)

: to give birth to allowed to birth her child in her own way— Nancy Robinson

intransitive verb

: to bring forth or be brought forth as a child or young contend that birthing is a natural process, rather than a medical procedure— Kit Miniclier the baby birthed breech— Jayne Anne Phillips



Medical Definition of birth (Entry 3 of 3)

: biological sense 3 spent years searching for his birth parents

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on birth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with birth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for birth

Spanish Central: Translation of birth

Nglish: Translation of birth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of birth for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about birth

Comments on birth

What made you want to look up birth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!