ges·​ta·​tion | \je-ˈstā-shən \

Definition of gestation 

1 : the carrying of young in the uterus (see uterus sense 1) : pregnancy

2 : conception (see conception sense 3) and development especially in the mind

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Other Words from gestation

gestational \je-​ˈstā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for gestation


family way, gravidity, pregnancy

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Examples of gestation in a Sentence

the gestation of new ideas The book has been in gestation for a long time.

Recent Examples on the Web

The vast majority of abortions — a full 90% — took place by 12 weeks' gestation in 2014. Amina Khan,, "The National Academies take a hard look at the safety and quality of abortion care in the U.S.," 16 Mar. 2018 And black women are far more likely (in one recent study four times more likely) to have a baby born very early, between 16 and 22 weeks' gestation. Brie Zeltner,, "Rate of black infant deaths 6 times that of white deaths in Cuyahoga County in 2017: Saving the Smallest," 14 Mar. 2018 Netflix says the series has been in production for roughly four years, which means its gestation period may have overlapped with 2016's Planet Earth II, on which Fothergill was not credited. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Attenborough’s calming narration comes to Netflix in 2019 doc Our Planet," 12 Nov. 2018 There are artistic projects with long gestation periods, and then there are the ones that take almost an entire life. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "In Mistral, Photographer Rachel Cobb Catches the Wind," 1 Nov. 2018 Since the rhino gestation period is 16- to 18-months, Linda must have kept her svelte figure for some time. Washington Post, "Once known as the awkward rhino, Stormy fathers baby," 6 July 2018 The panda gestation period usually lasts 90 to 185 days. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, "No giant panda cub this year, National Zoo announces," 5 July 2018 The lengthy rhino gestation period means the baby isn’t due until the summer of 2019. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Rhino pregnancy stirs hope for a nearly extinct species," 17 May 2018 Mourning doves' gestation period ranges between 14 to 16 days. Mallorie Sullivan,, "A bird started her family inside a Cincy Red Bike. So they locked the bike down.," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gestation.' 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 gestation

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gestation

Latin gestation-, gestatio, from gestare to bear, frequentative of gerere to bear

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Dictionary Entries near gestation

Gestalt psychology







Statistics for gestation

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for gestation

The first known use of gestation was in 1615

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English Language Learners Definition of gestation

: the time when a person or animal is developing inside its mother before it is born; also : the process of development that happens during this time

: the process by which something (such as an idea) forms and develops


ges·​ta·​tion | \je-ˈstā-shən \

Medical Definition of gestation 

1 : the carrying of young in the uterus from conception to delivery : pregnancy

Other Words from gestation

gestational \-​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl \ adjective

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Comments on gestation

What made you want to look up gestation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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