par·​ent | \ ˈper-ənt How to pronounce parent (audio) \

Definition of parent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one that begets or brings forth offspring just became parents of twins
b : a person who brings up and cares for another foster parents
2a : an animal or plant that is regarded in relation to its offspring The parent brings food to the chicks.
b : the material or source from which something is derived Latin is the parent of several languages.
c : a group from which another arises and to which it usually remains subsidiary a parent company


parented; parenting; parents

Definition of parent (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be or act as the parent of : originate, produce

intransitive verb

: to be or act as a parent

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Other Words from parent


parent adjective
parental \ pə-​ˈren-​tᵊl How to pronounce parental (audio) \ adjective
parentally \ pə-​ˈren-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce parentally (audio) \ adverb
parentless \ ˈper-​ənt-​ləs How to pronounce parentless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of parent in a Sentence


My parents live in New York. The form must be signed by a parent or guardian of the child. The parent brings food to the chicks. The new plant will have characteristics of both parent plants.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For parents, that might mean getting up earlier to drop your child off at school or get them to their bus stop. Susannah Bryan,, "Be prepared for a slower commute as school starts this week," 12 Aug. 2019 Organizers plan to host the event annually, Hernandez said, to help ease the costs of back-to-school shopping for parents. Alison Kuznitz,, "A back-to-school celebration, with backpack giveaways, helps low-income families in Boston," 10 Aug. 2019 Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended the King's Cup regatta with grandfather Michael Middleton as parents, Kate Middleton and Prince William, competed in the sailing race. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince George and Princess Charlotte Make a Surprise Appearance at the King's Cup Regatta," 8 Aug. 2019 Raised in South Africa, the mom of three (also producer-director daughter Tosca Musk and restaurateur-philanthropist son Kimbal Musk) worked multiple jobs as a single parent. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Elon Musk’s Model-Dietitian Mom Maye Talks New Book, Not Being "A Bikini Type" (Exclusive)," 8 Aug. 2019 This year, however, another Lake County judge, Joseph Salvi, took over hearing guardianship cases and last month denied the guardianship petition of a 17-year-old who lived with his parents in suburban Long Grove. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "At Hearing on Financial Aid Scandal, Lawmakers Grill Officials and Look to Close a Loophole," 8 Aug. 2019 Five years ago, Kathleen Burt took a vacation to Puerto Rico with her parents. Wendy Lu, Quartz, "Traveling while disabled is four times more expensive," 8 Aug. 2019 Owens and her son had been living with her parents. Anna Claire Vollers |, al, "Red flag laws already exist for domestic abusers; a look at how well they work," 8 Aug. 2019 This is not the first time that Leadbetter has been public about his disagreement with Ko's parents. Daniel Rapaport,, "David Leadbetter Says Lydia Ko's Parents Guilty of "Unbelievable Ignorance"," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Often, parenting grandparents are struggling with same issues as their grandchildren, dealing with the children’s troubled parents, and in the most tragic cases mourning their loss. Robert Weisman,, "Growing old and back in the ‘bouncy house,’ more grandparents are raising grandkids," 12 Aug. 2019 Affleck’s signature mournful pragmatism serves him well in the role of a man seeking to thoughtfully parent and protect his child under unimaginably precarious circumstances. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Casey Affleck returns to directing with the father-daughter story ‘Light of My Life’," 8 Aug. 2019 In the rant, a mother of a 3-year-old describes the challenges of parenting a toddler while upset at the care-free manner in which young visitors to Walt Disney World go about their day. Richard Tribou,, "Angry mom’s Disney rant raises debate: kids vs. no kids," 29 July 2019 Courts in every state recommend the app as a co-parenting tool. Andrea Barbalich, Woman's Day, "5 Apps To Help You Through Divorce," 5 June 2019 It hasn’t been addressed in relation to her parenting a black daughter who doesn’t look like her classmates. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, "How Big Little Lies Did Bonnie A Major Disservice By Ignoring Her Race," 23 July 2019 With less than a year until launch, Chip and Jo are definitely busy bringing their new network to life, not to mention, parenting five children and continuing to oversee their Magnolia empire—the true definition of a power couple. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines Shares a Sneak Peek of Upcoming TV Network," 15 July 2019 Screen consultants come into homes, schools, churches and synagogues to remind parents how people parented before. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Now Some Families Are Hiring Coaches to Help Them Raise Phone-Free Children," 6 July 2019 Such services would typically include information about counseling, parenting education courses, housing or parenting skills. Arizona Republic, "Did Arizona Department of Child Services try to bar parents from criticizing it?," 16 July 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1663, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for parent


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin parent-, parens "father or mother, progenitor, ancestor," probably from an aorist participle of parere "to give birth to, bring into being, produce" — more at parturient entry 1


derivative of parent entry 1

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Statistics for parent

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parent

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

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More Definitions for parent



English Language Learners Definition of parent

: a person who is a father or mother : a person who has a child
: an animal or plant that produces a young animal or plant
: something out of which another thing has developed


par·​ent | \ ˈper-ənt How to pronounce parent (audio) \

Kids Definition of parent

1 : a father or mother of a child
2 : an animal or plant that produces offspring


par·​ent | \ ˈpar-ənt, ˈper- How to pronounce parent (audio) \

Medical Definition of parent

1 : one that begets or brings forth offspring
2 : the material or source from which something is derived

Other Words from parent

parent adjective
parental \ pə-​ˈrent-​ᵊl How to pronounce parental (audio) \ adjective

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Legal Definition of parent

1a : a person who begets or brings forth offspring especially : the natural parents of a child born of their marriage
b : a person who legally adopts a child
c : a person or entity that owes to a child a legally imposed duty of support
d : a stepparent where designated by statute
2 : an entity or group that gives rise to or acquires another usually subsidiary entity or group a parent company specifically : a corporation that owns a required minimum percentage of the stock of another corporation — compare affiliate

Other Words from parent

parent adjective
parental \ pə-​ˈren-​təl How to pronounce parental (audio) \ adjective
parentally adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on parent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parent

Spanish Central: Translation of parent

Nglish: Translation of parent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parent for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about parent

Comments on parent

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marked by turns or indirection

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