ges·​ta·​tion | \ je-ˈstā-shən How to pronounce gestation (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gestation

gestational \ je-​ˈstā-​shnəl How to pronounce gestation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

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 use of cells derived from fetal tissue in clinical research dates back to the 1960s when Dr. Leonard Hayflick, a scientist at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, created WI-38 cells from an aborted four-month-gestation fetus. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: COVID-19 vaccine 'morally acceptable,' Vatican says but some claims missing context," 29 Dec. 2020 The African elephant holds the earthly record for the longest gestation period, a whopping six hundred and forty-five days of pregnancy, or just a few months shy of two years. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Best Cookbooks of 2020," 15 Dec. 2020 Stuart wrote Shuggie Bain over 10 years, its long gestation period due in part to the difficulty of finding time to write outside his high-pressure day job. Liam Hess, Vogue, "The Beauty and Brutality of Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain," 8 Dec. 2020 Satellites are the big commercial opportunity in space right now, though there are plenty of others in various states of gestation. Clive Thompson, The New Republic, "Monetizing the Final Frontier," 3 Dec. 2020 The world has, again, surprised us during this lengthy gestation -- and yet, there were those who warned us, citing the possibility of a 100-year recurrence of a pandemic, that such conditions could emerge. Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland, "Thanksgiving reflection on the power of gratitude: Sun Messages," 23 Nov. 2020 Preterm birth was defined as less than 37 weeks gestation. Christen A. Johnson,, "Illinois earns a D+ grade on preterm birth and infant mortality assessment. 949 babies died in 2018.," 20 Nov. 2020 At five-and-a-half months’ gestation, the fetus is the size of a papaya and has begun to grow eyebrows and hair. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, "Lincoln, Douglas, and the Failure of Colorado’s Pro-Life Vote," 10 Nov. 2020 Child gestation can also stress the lungs in two ways. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "One in four pregnant people with COVID-19 may have lingering ‘long-haul’ illness," 8 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gestation

Time Traveler for gestation

Time Traveler

The first known use of gestation was in 1615

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gestation

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gestation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gestation


How to pronounce gestation (audio)

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 How to pronounce gestation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce gestation (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!