na·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ nə-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce nativity (audio) , nā-\
plural nativities

Definition of nativity

1 : the process or circumstances of being born : birth especially, capitalized : the birth of Jesus
2 : a horoscope at or of the time of one's birth
3 : the place of origin

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for nativity


birth, geniture

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Nativity is one of many words born of the Latin verb nasci, which means "to be born." The gestation of the word was a long one. "Nasci" developed in Latin into nativitas, meaning "birth," which passed through Middle French as nativité before entering English in the 14th century. "Nativity" has many siblings and cousins in our language; other terms of the lineage of "nasci" include "cognate," "innate," "nascent," "native," and "renaissance."

Examples of nativity in a Sentence

my father and grandparents were proud observers of my nativity

Recent Examples on the Web

Choose from nativity scenes, Santa and his reindeer, and a number of other cheery characters. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Here's Your First Look at The Home Depot's Best New Christmas Decorations," 14 Oct. 2018 In October 1969, two thieves wielding razor blades removed a Caravaggio nativity scene from its frame above the altar of a Sicilian oratory. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "New Clues Emerge in Search for Stolen Caravaggio," 5 June 2018 Statue found 2 years after theft A statue of the Virgin Mary stolen from a Vermont nativity seen more than two years ago has been found undamaged and returned to its owner., "New England news in brief," 19 May 2018 Animals escape from zoos, farms, laboratories, and even odder locales, such as nativity scenes or assisted-living facilities, all the time. Longreads, "Wild At Heart," 17 May 2018 On a credenza is a collection of Columbian Santos, painted figures that were part of a nativity scene that Hoksch believes to be from the 1800s. Kadee Krieger,, "Shotgun House Tour opens the doors to eclectic beauties in Algiers Point," 9 May 2018 Ruby) is the smart negotiator of the group who wants to be seen as a man, but his ideas of manhood don't square with the reality of sharing a room with his abuela, her light-up nativity scenes and Our Lady of Guadalupe collection. Lorraine Ali,, "Netflix’s 'On My Block' continues the recent wave that treats teens of color as more than just sidekicks," 15 Mar. 2018 The question of nativity, of who is an American, an Illinoisan, is something to think about in this birthday year. Paul Sassone,, "Column: A question to consider for Illinois’ 200th birthday – What does it take to become an Illinoisan? An American?," 14 Mar. 2018 Starting on Page 30 are the instructions for documenting nativity, which say that the state or territory is to be given for people born in the United States. The Root, "Tracing Your Roots: My Ancestor’s Census Record Is Confusing!," 9 Feb. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nativity

Middle English nativite, from Anglo-French nativité, from Medieval Latin nativitat-, nativitas, from Late Latin, birth, from Latin nativus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nativity

Listen to Our Podcast about nativity

Statistics for nativity

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nativity

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nativity


Na·​tiv·​i·​ty | \ nə-ˈti-və-tē\
plural Nativities

Kids Definition of Nativity

: the birth of Jesus Christ a Nativity scene

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on nativity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nativity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nativity

Spanish Central: Translation of nativity

Nglish: Translation of nativity for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about nativity

Comments on nativity

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


to make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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