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

Other Words from maternal

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

Synonyms for maternal

Synonyms

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 From his maternal grandmother, who spent a part of each year living with the family, Kurkov heard stories about his grandfather, who died a heroic death in the battle to liberate Kharkiv from the Nazis in 1943. New York Times, 24 May 2022 The current French President, Emmanuel Macron, was very close to his maternal grandmother, who lived in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, a thermal station in the Pyrenees. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 The children were taken to the home of their maternal grandmother, Gloria Farber, in New York City. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 21 May 2022 My maternal grandmother, Beatrice Tsinajinnie, grew up around Leupp, Arizona. Asher Lehrer-small, BostonGlobe.com, 20 May 2022 Before this, my Didu—or maternal grandmother—and my great-aunt would have to toast and grind the spices themselves, and these mobile spice shops offered convenience and the promise of time saved. Urmila Ramakrishnan, Bon Appétit, 17 May 2022 My maternal grandmother, who had once been associated with the Nationalists, was forced to write self-denunciation letters late into the night to prove her loyalty to the Communist Party. Belinda Huijuan Tang, Vogue, 5 May 2022 Her maternal grandmother, Marie-Paule Chiron, died eight years ago, at the age of 103, when Sciamma was in her mid-30s. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 At their wedding, two seats in the front row were reserved in memory of Gabrielle and her maternal grandmother. Dawn Ennis, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About maternal

Time Traveler for maternal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near maternal

mater lectionis

maternal

maternalism

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for maternal

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Maternal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/maternal. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for maternal

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

More from Merriam-Webster on maternal

Nglish: Translation of maternal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of maternal for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!