maternal

adjective
ma·​ter·​nal | \ mə-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce maternal (audio) \

Definition of maternal

1 : of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of a mother : motherly maternal love maternal instincts
2a : related through a mother his maternal aunt
b : inherited or derived from the female parent maternal genes

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Other Words from maternal

maternally \ mə-​ˈtər-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce maternal (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for maternal

Synonyms

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Examples of maternal in a Sentence

Doctors are concerned about the effects of the drug on maternal health. her maternal instincts told her that something was wrong
Recent Examples on the Web Then that evening, Dennis, a studious 13-year-old, went on the family computer and found a 1930 United States Census entry for his maternal great-grandmother. John Leland, New York Times, "A Teenager Was Bullied. His Ancestors Saved Him.," 26 Feb. 2021 Nunez-Smith lived with her mother and maternal grandmother on the island of St. Thomas. NBC News, "Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith is prioritizing health equity from the White House," 22 Feb. 2021 Jackie Pham Nguyen and her three kids, Olivia, 11, Edison, 8, and Colette, 5, affectionately nicknamed Coco by her family, still had power and were happy to have more time with their Ba Ngoai, which means maternal grandmother in Vietnamese. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "Three children and their grandmother perished in a Texas fire after trying to stay warm during power outages. Their mom survived," 21 Feb. 2021 But over the past year, therapy sessions and a memorable season in his maternal grandmother’s home country helped Lin come to terms with his place in basketball history. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Why Jeremy Lin turned down millions in China to play for Warriors’ G League team," 15 Jan. 2021 Lefse came to be part of his family’s holiday traditions by way of his Danish maternal grandmother who lived in northern Minnesota. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Gather your household for an age-old Norwegian tradition this holiday season: Making lefse," 22 Dec. 2020 Her maternal grandmother, Loo She Low, ran a a laundromat out of the home with husband, Hon She Low. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford employee gets asked for winning lottery numbers, palm readings," 21 Dec. 2020 His maternal great-grandfather was former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. Mark Kennedy, Anchorage Daily News, "Oscar winner and ‘Sound of Music’ star Christopher Plummer has died at 91," 5 Feb. 2021 His maternal great-grandfather was former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. Mark Kennedy, The Christian Science Monitor, "Christopher Plummer enchanted audiences across the decades," 5 Feb. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for maternal

Middle English, from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French maternel, from Medieval Latin maternalis, from Latin maternus, from mater mother — more at mother

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Time Traveler for maternal

Time Traveler

The first known use of maternal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for maternal

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Maternal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maternal. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for maternal

maternal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of maternal

: of or relating to a mother
: of or relating to a woman who is having a baby
: related through the mother

maternal

adjective
ma·​ter·​nal | \ mə-ˈtər-nᵊl How to pronounce maternal (audio) \

Kids Definition of maternal

1 : of or relating to a mother maternal instincts
2 : related through the mother maternal grandparents

Other Words from maternal

maternally adverb

maternal

adjective
ma·​ter·​nal | \ mə-ˈtərn-ᵊl How to pronounce maternal (audio) \

Medical Definition of maternal

1 : of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of a mother maternal instinct
2a : related through a mother his maternal aunt
b : inherited or derived from the female parent maternal genes

Other Words from maternal

maternally \ -​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce maternal (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on maternal

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