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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for birth

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of birth in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb back in those days a woman her age would have birthed several children Adjective 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 Athens County had the highest average birth spacing: 68.1%. Laura Hancock, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County births more likely to be spaced apart than others in Ohio," 13 July 2020 More recently, conspiracy theorists have decided that Meghan Markle faked the birth of her son, Archie. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "How a Fake Baby Is Born," 13 July 2020 Seventy years after the birth of Christ, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Anti-Semitic posts — and tepid reactions — should enrage us," 12 July 2020 Baldwin said rural states sometimes alsolack doctors that specialize in certain fields that could impact teen birth rates. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "Teen birth rates decline another year, CDC report finds, but Black and Hispanic rates see less significant change," 11 July 2020 The birth of a baby also symbolizes a hopeful sign for the future of western lowland gorillas, which have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, Wilson said. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "A critically endangered gorilla is about to be a mom, and she's using a doll for practice," 11 July 2020 There was a time no ballplayer was permitted to leave his team even to witness the birth of his child. John Shea,, "Buster Posey’s decision to opt out heightens his legacy," 11 July 2020 Sha-Asia Washington was looking forward to the birth of her first child with her partner, Juwan Lopez. Essence, "Protesters Emerge Outside Of Brooklyn Hospital After Black Mom Dies Giving Birth," 10 July 2020 The house of Stalin’s birth had been Sovietized, with heavy industrial surroundings and a museum. William Toti, WSJ, "Stalin and the Confederacy," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Like past recessions, this one will birth many great companies and new millionaires. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Recession-proof your life: Entrepreneurs offer advice on thriving during difficult times," 29 June 2020 South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, a Republican, said any plan to pull resources away from officers would birth prime opportunities for criminals to take advantage of a weakened police presence in major cities. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "We reached out to all 50 state attorneys general about defunding the police, only one Democrat provided comment," 22 June 2020 America needs government reform that demands legislations and new laws that birth the future for our kids. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Keke Palmer Asked National Guardsmen to ‘March With Us’ During a Protest in L.A.," 3 June 2020 American needs government reform that demand legislations and new laws that birth the future for our kids. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "Keke Palmer asks National Guard members to 'march with us' during protest," 3 June 2020 Still, that can mean hard-to-swallow changes to pregnant women’s birthing plans—and a new reality of social distancing during labor. Minhae Shim Roth, Glamour, "Giving Birth During Coronavirus Is Every Woman’s Nightmare," 1 Apr. 2020 Several hospitals have moved to ban visitors or birthing partners from hospitals due to the coronavirus outbreak. Fox News, "Coronavirus: What you need to know," 27 Mar. 2020 That consciousness raising birthed activism, mirroring the various movements that came to the fore in the 1960s and '70s. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Crip Camp' could put the Obamas back in the documentary Oscar race," 25 Mar. 2020 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi birthed one of the year’s most ubiquitous memes during the 2019 State of the Union address in February. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, "Feral hogs, Baby Yoda, and Kidz Bop Karen: This is 2019 in memes," 23 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These fees typically cover a birth mother’s medical expenses, legal representation for adoptive and birth parents, court fees, social workers and more. David Dodge, New York Times, "What I Spent to Adopt My Child," 11 Feb. 2020 Starbucks, for instance, last year sweetened the deal for its store employees, offering six weeks paid leave for all parents, not just birth mothers. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Target is expanding parental leave, including for hourly and part-time workers," 10 June 2019

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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Time Traveler for birth

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for birth

Last Updated

31 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Birth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for birth


How to pronounce birth (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on birth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for birth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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