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

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

Kehlani gave birth to her daughter Adeya in March with ex-boyfriend and guitarist Javaughn White. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Kehlani and YG Were All Boo'd Up At New York Fashion Week," 10 Sep. 2019 Blanco was not at training Tuesday because his wife gave birth to the couple’s second daughter earlier this week. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Timbers injury report: Larrys Mabiala, Julio Cascante among players still recovering from injury," 10 Sep. 2019 The documents list the minor as T.P.V.P., born April 18, 2008, the same date Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Paxon Van Palin, the youngest of the couple’s five children. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sarah Palin’s husband appears to be seeking a divorce," 9 Sep. 2019 For decades, this experience has been the norm for women who give birth while in Minnesota prisons. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "‘An insult to child development’: MN prisons mull alternatives to incarceration for pregnant women," 8 Sep. 2019 Brewers manager Craig Counsell said afterward that Arcia had left the team to be with his fiancée, Elena, who gave birth to the couple's twin daughters. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Orlando Arcia leaves Sunday's game, then rushes to hospital in time to see birth of twin daughters," 8 Sep. 2019 Congratulations are in order for HGTV's Christina Anstead! The Flip Or Flop star has officially given birth to a beautiful baby boy, her first with husband Ant Anstead. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Christina Anstead's Baby Boy Is Here, and His Name Is So Sweet," 7 Sep. 2019 By Swati Gupta and Sugam Pokharel | CNN A 73-year-old woman in India has given birth to twin girls. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Indian woman, 73, gives birth to twins," 6 Sep. 2019 The reptile was found in a nest where a timber rattlesnake recently gave birth. Fox News, "Rare, two-headed rattlesnake found in New Jersey, 'probably wouldn't survive in the wild'," 6 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trèfle Hailing from the British Virgin Islands, Kristin Frazer birthed her company Trèfle in 2008. Ashley Rushford, Essence, "ESSENCE Best In Black Fashion Awards: Meet These International Designers On The Rise," 4 Sep. 2019 The event also birthed a collaboration with actress Kristen Adele that led to their Artists of Color meet-ups, now in its second year. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "The latest album from Denver singer-songwriter Such is a sultry soul journey," 17 Aug. 2019 Jessica Bibbs-Fox, teacher at Kelly Elementary School My parents, from the sharecropping Jim Crow era, birthed my siblings in the segregated South and worked their way out of the fields to become middle-class Angelenos. Andrea Ramos, Los Angeles Times, "How to get kids excited about reading: A student and teacher’s perspective," 16 Aug. 2019 And lo and behold, The Fosters birthed a new relationship right before our eyes. Rebecca Farley,, "The Fosters Series Finale Part 2 Recap: Never Sign A Pre-Nuptial Agreement," 6 June 2018 Mixed with mezcal, watermelon puree, jalapeno, lime and agave syrup, the $15 cocktail was birthed during the peak of the popular Netflix series' third season. Khanh T.l. Tran, The Hollywood Reporter, "Drink and Dish: Jessica Alba's Favorite Tequila, Cocktails Inspired by 'The Kitchen' and 'Stranger Things'," 22 Aug. 2019 In the town that also birthed General Motors, Manley drives a black Cadillac Escalade with the vanity plate THSHARK. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "How a Flint court battle became Mateen Cleaves' most divisive victory," 21 Aug. 2019 What’s more, Jaden Smith is one of the premier free-spirits of the Gen-Z era, a perfect modern analog for the hippie movement that birthed Arlo and so many others a half-century earlier. Corbin Reiff, Billboard, "Recasting Woodstock's Original Lineup With 2019 Artists," 13 Aug. 2019 Researchers found that females in a pride synchronize their cycles in order to birth their cubs at the same time. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "Ten Things We’ve Learned About Lions Since Disney’s Original ‘The Lion King’," 19 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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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Statistics for birth

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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 spread over or through

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