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

3a : lineage, extraction

b : high or noble birth

4a archaic : one that is born

b : beginning, start


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

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

Kate Middleton gave birth to her third child, Prince Louis, in April. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Royal Family's Christmas Decorations Are the Polar Opposite of the White House's," 4 Dec. 2018 Beyond the realm of reality television, Chip and Joanna Gaines have given birth to their own modern farmhouse industry. Laura Fenton, Curbed, "How the ‘modern farmhouse’ look took over," 21 Nov. 2018 The radius and ulnar bones are supposed to separate during your development before birth. Sarah Valenzuela, SELF, "My Congenital Disorder Confuses a Lot of Trainers, So I Have to Be My Own Fitness Expert," 9 Nov. 2018 Pippa has kept a relatively low profile throughout her pregnancy, which was announced in April right before her nephew Prince Louis' birth. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Pippa Middleton Has Given Birth to a Baby Boy," 16 Oct. 2018 The other: Scientists are also scanning genomes in the hope of predicting who is most at risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes, potentially from a very early age — perhaps even before birth. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How scientists are trying to predict your future with your genes," 23 Aug. 2018 The newlyweds got engaged in December 2015, a little more than a year before the birth of their son Shai. Maria Pasquini,, "Surprise! Maks Chmerkovskiy Reveals He & Peta Murgatroyd Wed at City Hall Before Big Ceremony," 8 July 2018 Since then, he's been one of baseball's best hitters, batting .347 with a .974 OPS -- all before the birth of his fourth child in June. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "MLB All-Star Game rosters: Red Sox, Astros, Yankees dominate AL; upstart Braves get 4 NL stars," 8 July 2018 She was born Esther Pauline Friedman on the Fourth of July in 1918 in Sioux City, Iowa, 17 minutes before the birth of her twin sister, Pauline Esther Friedman. Rick Kogan,, "On the 100th birthday of Ann Landers, a play, a typewriter and a lot of memories," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After a busy few months, including birthing a potential future monarch, a worldwide-famous wedding, and endless public appearances, Kate Middleton and Prince William are taking some time out for a family vacation. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Are Reportedly on Their First Vacation as a Family of Five," 20 July 2018 The previous mayor, Michael Nutter, birthed a massive tobacco tax, and Mayor Kenney invented a crushing beverage tax. Stu Bykofsky,, "Welcome to Taxadelphia, where you pay more than you realize | Stu Bykofsky," 10 July 2018 This police action provoked outrage and birthed the student movement. Andalusia Knoll, Teen Vogue, "What to Know About the 1968 Tlatelolco Plaza Student Massacre," 2 Oct. 2018 But in Paris, a new beginning for each of them, there was clarity and a glorious new kind of synergy that elevated all three, and birthed the Biggest Most Exciting Menswear Moment Ever. Noah Johnson, GQ, "Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Alyx Plot the Future of Menswear," 27 June 2018 Fifteen million Model Ts were birthed by the time production ended in 1927. Casey Williams,, "Driving the Ford Model T through 110 years of American audacity," 3 July 2018 By birthing those wetlands, the company can sell permissions to real-estate developers to destroy other wetlands. Kevin Spear,, "Florida plan for Lake County sand mine provokes residents' ire," 22 June 2018 When mothers were birthing my generation of boomers, fathers usually spent time pacing the waiting room. Pat Lenhoff,, "Column: Father's Day and childhood memories," 11 June 2018 That new concept, called Ocean 44, is currently being readied for a November opening in Scottsdale, Ariz., where Steak 44 was birthed. (Steak 44 got its name from being on 44th Street in Phoenix. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Steak 48 owners plan Houston seafood restaurant," 6 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.

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

7 Dec 2018

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 \

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

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!