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 By that time, McCorvey had given birth to a daughter who was later given up for adoption. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "'It was all an act': Woman behind Roe v. Wade reveals she was paid to turn against abortion," 19 May 2020 The mayhem gave birth to an historic truce, bringing together OPEC and countries from the Group of 20 nations that have long criticized the cartel. Will Kennedy,, "Why the OPEC-Russia Blowup Sparked All-Out Oil Price War," 19 May 2020 Best wishes to Melissa Benoist, who’ll have given birth by the time Supergirl returns to our screens. Sara Netzley,, "Supergirl finale recap: Sweet forgiveness and some serious cliffhangers," 18 May 2020 Mabel, a four-year-old pygmy hippo, gave birth on April 9. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "San Diego Zoo Welcomes Endangered Baby Pygmy Hippo for the First Time in 30 Years," 18 May 2020 At least 24 people were killed in the rampage at the hospital, 16 of them women who had gone there to give birth. Mujib Mashal,, "Afghan rivals sign power-sharing deal as political crisis subsides," 17 May 2020 At the end of the first week of classes this semester, Chloe gave birth to son Rhett on Jan. 17. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "Inside Troy Niklas' journey to finish strong at Notre Dame," 15 May 2020 Being a Bison introduced the attorney, author, and HBCU advocate to the women who would give birth to her godchildren and form her support system. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "HBCU Love: Kamala Harris Says Attending Howard Was A Childhood Dream Actualized," 15 May 2020 During her illness, Callender gave birth to twin sons, who are now 19 months old. Time, "Cassandra Callender, Connecticut Woman Forced to Undergo Chemotherapy as a Teen, Dies at 22," 14 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rarely are sequels carbon copies of what birthed them. cleveland, "Is an offensive regression looming for Baltimore? What does it mean for the Cleveland Browns?," 12 May 2020 Waking your kids up for school the first day after a break is almost as much fun as birthing them was. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, "37 Mom Jokes that Put Dad Jokes to Shame," 7 May 2020 There have been over 30 sneakers birthed from the collaboration with each one growing more and more difficult to purchase. Mark Elibert, Billboard, "Laced Up: Virgil Abloh's OFF-WHITE X Nike Collaboration Continues With Air Jordan 5," 15 Feb. 2020 Lee sacrificed his own life at the end of the movie to save his family, including the newborn babe Evelyn birthed in one particularly panic-inducing scene. Nick Romano,, "A Quiet Place 2 drops a big surprise in Super Bowl 2020 trailer," 31 Jan. 2020 Changes in weapons, tactics, and training birthed the mindset. Arthur Rizer, National Review, "Reform Police Training — Why It’s a Conservative Cause," 6 Mar. 2020 Wynne may have birthed it, but Petherbridge raised it. Peter Sagal, New York Times, "Here’s Looking at You, Grid: A History of Crosswords and Their Fans," 17 Mar. 2020 Ireland has birthed some of history's most renowned poets. Annie O’sullivan, Woman's Day, "The Best St. Patrick's Day Activities For a Day Full of Fun," 16 Mar. 2020 One of the most prominent HBCU’S brought together thousands of black folks to Washington D.C., to celebrate all the excellence that has birthed from the university. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Street Style At Howard Homecoming," 15 Oct. 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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Birth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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