maternal

adjective
ma·ter·nal | \mə-ˈtər-nᵊl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from maternal

maternally \-nᵊl-ē \ adverb

Synonyms for maternal

Synonyms

mother, motherly

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Other aid areas include maternal and child health, agriculture, operating expenses, water supply and sanitation, and general health. Laura Smith-spark, CNN, "Trump dodges questions about vulgar Africa remark," 30 Apr. 2018 For Sigler, whose maternal and paternal grandmothers both hailed from Italy, that means extruding his own spaghetti and grinding his own meatballs for pasta bowls topped with a dab of ricotta. Michael Russell, OregonLive.com, "New Italian-American restaurant coming to longtime Pazzo space with former Renata chef at the helm," 5 Mar. 2018 The paper, which reviews separate previous studies on nutrition and obesity among women of reproductive age, notes that substantial risks for maternal and child health are associated with mothers who are underweight or overweight. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "How dad's pre-conception health can affect the baby, too," 16 Apr. 2018 After Kennedy won the White House, Shriver pushed her brother to create the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development which would go on to initiate life-saving research in the realms of maternal and child health. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, stars in admiring new biography," 10 Apr. 2018 There’s little data on whether taking omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and multivitamins during pregnancy substantially improves maternal and child health. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Supplements are a $30 billion racket—here’s what experts actually recommend," 20 Feb. 2018 Lack of access to maternity leave is another risk factor for poor maternal and infant health. Lucy Westcott, Newsweek, "Washington’s Poorest Infants Are Ten Times More Likely to Die Than Richest," 4 May 2015 African American maternal mortality rates are almost double those in Thailand. Jenny Jarvie, latimes.com, "U.N.'s poverty monitor says U.S. is 'like the kid who takes his football and goes home'," 22 June 2018 That works out to a maternal mortality rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 live births. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "A crummy drop-down menu appeared to kill dozens of mothers in Texas," 12 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about maternal

Statistics for maternal

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for maternal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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 \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on maternal

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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