noun, often attributive
\ ˈbərth \

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

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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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Offset stands on Cardi's left side and watches his wife, who is visibly and audibly in some major labor pains, give birth to their daughter. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Offset Shares a Video of Cardi B Giving Birth to Baby Kulture," 12 Feb. 2019 After the trial, Tamar gave birth at the age of 16. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The True Story of I Am the Night: How the Black Dahlia and George Hodel Were Connected," 10 Feb. 2019 Reports from the Daily Mail said that Meghan would opt against giving birth at the famed, royal family favorite Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "This Hint Suggests Meghan Markle May Give Birth in the Lindo Wing After All," 4 Feb. 2019 The second pregnant woman, who has yet to give birth, is also being closely monitored by authorities in Guangdong. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Chinese Government Officially Charges CRISPR Baby Scientist," 22 Jan. 2019 Sacagawea returned to what would later to be known as Dakota territory and died after giving birth to a daughter. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Sacagawea Changed the Course of History and Deserves Respect," 11 Jan. 2019 Hillary, who gave birth to her second child a few months ago, has some ideas about what the reboot would be about, but motherhood isn't on the table, at least for now. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Hillary Duff Just Pretty Much Confirmed a Lizzie McGuire Reboot is Happening," 31 Dec. 2018 The notorious playboy, who possessed boyish good looks and a proclivity for zooming around town in a Mustang Cobra, was a larger-than-life character who helped birth the rise of the celebrity hairstylist. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Hollywood Playboy Was L.A.’s First Celebrity Hairstylist," 24 Jan. 2019 China’s demographic picture is also darkening: last year births plummeted 12% last year, to the lowest since 1961. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The Global Boom, Barely Begun, May Be Over," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 For Helgoe, quiet time on an Amazon expedition birthed the idea for her book. Melissa Lambarena, The Seattle Times, "Shh! Introverts share travel survival secrets," 18 Sep. 2018 The explosion of media has birthed multiple new formats as well: libraries today also boast an impressive number of eBooks and audiobooks, all for free with a library card. Kim Komando, Fox News, "11 amazing perks you get from your local library you never knew before now," 25 Aug. 2018 Despite the fact that the couple will continue working out of Kensington Palace, the move makes perfect sense for the pair—especially if Meghan plans to birth the baby at home. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Are Moving To Windsor Estate," 26 Nov. 2018 It’s easier to birth a new name than adopt another. Rich Boudet, The Seattle Times, "Name Seattle's NHL team," 3 Oct. 2018 But Alphabet’s attempt to birth the next generation of moonshot companies raises two questions. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 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.

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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

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Learn More about birth

Statistics for birth

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for birth

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

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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 \

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 \

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

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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).


excited commotion or publicity

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