mid·​wife | \ ˈmid-ˌwīf How to pronounce midwife (audio) \

Definition of midwife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who assists women in childbirth — compare nurse-midwife
2 : one that helps to produce or bring forth something


midwifed\ ˈmid-​ˌwīft How to pronounce midwifed (audio) \ or midwived\ -​ˌwīvd How to pronounce midwived (audio) \; midwifing\ ˈmid-​ˌwī-​fiŋ How to pronounce midwifing (audio) \ or midwiving\ ˈmid-​ˌwī-​viŋ How to pronounce midwiving (audio) \

Definition of midwife (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to assist in producing, bringing forth, or bringing about

Examples of midwife in a Sentence


a trained and certified midwife

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her chief skill is as a midwife, which becomes an increasingly unsubtle metaphor — much of the novel turns on Aino trying to deliver better working conditions for the loggers. Mark Athitakis, chicagotribune.com, "Karl Marlantes pens another spirited epic, this time about immigrants, logging and labor," 11 July 2019 The novel begins in Finland in 1891 with Maíjaliisa Koski, a midwife, returning home after delivering a baby to find three of her and her husband Tapio’s six children dead from cholera. Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, "‘Deep River’ Review: In the Heart of the Forest Primeval," 28 June 2019 Both the woman and her mother, identified by news reports as a former midwife from Nigeria, are against terminating the pregnancy, with the older woman offering to care for the child, according to the court and news media reports. Yonette Joseph, New York Times, "U.K. Court Says Mentally Disabled Woman Must Have Abortion," 23 June 2019 By using midwives, who are paid less than doctors, HealthNet was reaping substantial savings. CBS News, "Physician exposes dangerous practice involving high-risk pregnancies at Indiana hospital," 14 June 2019 The baby arrived early one April morning, guided into the world by a Bengali midwife while the doctor waited in the next room. The New York Review of Books, "Maya Jasanoff," 23 May 2019 That same morning, her midwife left town for a week. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, "Jessa Duggar had an unexpected home birth on her couch," 21 June 2019 When a baby is born, all the females gather around the birth almost like midwives, helping and sometimes even pulling the baby out. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "Going Through Menopause With Guidance From a Whale," 18 June 2019 Certified midwives must complete a graduate-level education certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Fox News, "Unlicensed midwife arrested after baby dies following delivery," 8 July 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for midwife


Middle English midwif, from mid with (from Old English) + wif woman

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Statistics for midwife

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for midwife

The first known use of midwife was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for midwife



English Language Learners Definition of midwife

: a person (usually a woman) who helps a woman when she is giving birth to a child


mid·​wife | \ ˈmid-ˌwīf How to pronounce midwife (audio) \
plural midwives

Kids Definition of midwife

: a woman who helps other women during childbirth


mid·​wife | \ ˈmid-ˌwīf How to pronounce midwife (audio) \

Medical Definition of midwife

: a person who assists women in childbirth — see nurse-midwife

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More from Merriam-Webster on midwife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with midwife

Spanish Central: Translation of midwife

Nglish: Translation of midwife for Spanish Speakers

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