na·​tiv·​i·​ty nə-ˈti-və-tē How to pronounce nativity (audio)
plural nativities
: the process or circumstances of being born : birth
especially, capitalized : 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 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 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 nasci include cognate, innate, nascent, native, and renaissance.

Example Sentences

my father and grandparents were proud observers of my nativity
Recent Examples on the Web Historically, each calendar window revealed an image (often from the nativity scene), and in recent decades, chocolate morsels took over the scene. Theresa Holland, Peoplemag, 21 Nov. 2022 After all, Christmastime is not just about putting an angel on top of your Christmas tree and setting out your nativity scene, but rather coming together to celebrate love, family, and God. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 15 Nov. 2022 Prices are also great, too, with boxed options like this nativity scene card costing less than $1 per card. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 1 Nov. 2022 But the adventure that brings them together also puts them on a path to intersect with the first nativity. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 30 Sep. 2022 Also during the service, Sunday School will present their nativity play., 8 Dec. 2021 Proceeds benefitted the city's annual Cheviot nativity scene, area libraries, scholarships, winter coats for neighborhood children and school art and music programs. Bebe Hodges, The Enquirer, 14 Oct. 2022 Yeimo and his friends had been reportedly decorating a Christmas tree and a nativity scene at the time. Heather Chen, CNN, 30 Sep. 2022 The most coveted classics represent a time but also a place, a nativity, a spirit, from which the pure product came. Dan Neil, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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 4 Dec. 2022.

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
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