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

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Other Words from gestation

gestational \ je-​ˈstā-​shnəl How to pronounce gestational (audio) , -​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 Indiana Natality Report shows that 10 percent were born at less than 37 weeks’ gestation and 1.5 percent were considered very low birth weight (VLB). Nancy Coltun Webster, Post-Tribune, "Neonatal units helping young lives for more than 30 years," 27 Apr. 2018 The team has no answers yet, but the additional discovery points to just how little scientists know about shark gestation. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Some Unborn Sharks Swim from Uterus to Uterus Inside Their Mom," 7 Jan. 2019 Rates of premature birth—defined as delivery at less than 37 weeks’ gestation—declined from 2007 to 2014, but increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The New, Improved World of Infant Care," 16 Sep. 2018 She was given ultrasounds twice per week and underwent an emergency C-section at 30 weeks, six days gestation. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "6-year-old shares touching skin-to-skin moment with baby brother in NICU," 27 July 2018 The Waldrop babies—Rivers, Rayne, Rawlings, Blu, Tag and Layke—were born at under 30 weeks’ gestation on December 11 at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Newborn Sextuplets Make an Adorable Rainbow for First Sibling Photo Shoot," 28 Feb. 2018 The female rats began getting stoned during the week of their mating period, and then for the 21 days of gestation. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘Something wasn’t clicking’: WSU study shows offspring of pregnant rats exposed to THC have impaired development," 20 Nov. 2018 Waiting to give birth after 41 weeks’ gestation may slightly increase the risk that the baby will die before or shortly after birth. Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, "Inducing Labor at Full Term May Be Best Bet," 17 May 2018 House Bill 1510 becomes law immediately and bans most abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation. Washington Post, "New abortion law is most restrictive in U.S.," 20 Mar. 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

17 Mar 2019

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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 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 gestational (audio) \ 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).


a shady place in a garden or forest

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