na·​tiv·​i·​ty nə-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce nativity (audio)
plural nativities
: the process or circumstances of being born : birth
especially, Nativity : the birth of Jesus
: a horoscope at or of the time of one's birth
: the place of origin

Did you know?

Nativity is one of many words born of the Latin verb nāscī, which means “to be born.” The gestation of the word was a long one. Nāscī developed in Late Latin into nativitas, meaning “birth,” which passed through Anglo-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 nāscī include nature, 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 The intricate gold ensemble, designed by Dolce & Gabbana, included a headpiece that featured an entire nativity scene. Catherine Santino, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024 Each year around Christmas, Ruiz usually puts up a nativity scene in her home, keeping it in place until Feb. 3, the day after the Christian holiday commemorating the presentation of Jesus Christ at the temple. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2023 Bahr regularly posts fresh photos of his nativities on Instagram and Facebook. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Dec. 2023 When Did December 25 Become Christmas Day? While the Romans were toasting Sol Invictus on December 25, Christian leaders were debating when the nativity occurred. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2023 The nativity scene often depicts Jesus as a baby, alongside his mother Mary, often regarded by Catholics as a saint; as well as his father Joseph, wise men and their respective gifts, shepherds, angels and various animals, including donkeys and sheep. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 8 Dec. 2023 In addition to hundreds of live poinsettias, thousands of lights, a nativity scene, and a 30-foot Christmas tree, the lobby of The Jefferson also boasts a massive gingerbread display. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 8 Dec. 2023 Historically, each calendar window revealed an image, often from the nativity scene. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 Garabedian assumes the fatherly supporting role of St. Joseph, the carpenter, shown in the background building a domestic shelter reminiscent of those in Renaissance nativities by Giotto or Botticelli. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nativity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near nativity

Cite this Entry

“Nativity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


na·​tiv·​i·​ty nə-ˈtiv-ət-ē How to pronounce nativity (audio)
plural nativities
capitalized : the birth of Jesus
: the time, place, or manner of being born : birth

More from Merriam-Webster on nativity

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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