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 maternally (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 Four days before the race her maternal grandmother, Pauline Condron, passed away in Massachusetts at age 98. John Meyer, The Denver Post, "Mikaela Shiffrin mourning loss of her grandmother “Nana,” her biggest fan," 13 Nov. 2019 Anello, who is married to Chloe's maternal grandmother, posted bail and was allowed to return home Tuesday, the lawyer said through a representative. oregonlive, "Grandfather charged with negligent homicide in toddler’s fatal fall from cruise ship," 30 Oct. 2019 Anello, called Sam by his family, is married to Chloe’s maternal grandmother. NBC News, "Family of toddler who fell from cruise ship 'utterly crushed' after grandfather charged," 29 Oct. 2019 Last month, AJ’s headstone was installed to mark his grave in a Palatine cemetery, next to one of his maternal great-grandmothers. Christy Gutowski, chicagotribune.com, "The untold story of AJ Freund’s tragically short life: A time of hope. A violent death.," 25 Oct. 2019 On his mom's side, Philip is the grandnephew of Nicholas II's wife: his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was a sister of Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Tsarina of Russia. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Catherine the Great Is Related to the British Royal Family Through Prince Philip," 22 Oct. 2019 Breast cancer runs in my family representing three generations: maternal grandmother, mother and older sister. Tracy Roloff, sun-sentinel.com, "Tracy Roloff’s Survival Story," 1 Oct. 2019 Roberts was raising Izumi’s 6-year-old daughter, Frisch said, and Roberts’ wife is the maternal grandmother of Izumi’s daughter. Joe Nelson, The Mercury News, "California man stabbed to death was raising suspect’s daughter, police say," 4 Sep. 2019 His tenure as mayor was distinguished by a focus on public health issues, a trend that has continued with the Bloomberg presidential campaign, which released a plan to fight the maternal mortality crisis. Fortune, "The 2020 candidates’ positions—and records—on economic issues that affect women," 28 Jan. 2020

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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Maternal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maternal. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for maternal

maternal

adjective
How to pronounce maternal (audio)

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 maternally (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on maternal

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