parent

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

Essential Meaning of parent

1 : a person who is a father or mother : a person who has a child My parents live in New York. They recently became parents. = They're new parents. See More ExamplesThe form must be signed by a parent or guardian of the child. A few of us are single parents. [=parents who live with a child or children and no husband, wife, or partner] my adoptive parents [=the people who adopted me] The organization helps people who were adopted find their birth/biological parents. [=their natural parents] They'd like to become foster parents. [=people who volunteer to care for a child who is not their biological child]Hide
2 : an animal or plant that produces a young animal or plant The parent brings food to the chicks. the parent bird The new plant will have characteristics of both parent plants.
3 : something out of which another thing has developed

Full 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

parent

verb
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

Other Words from parent

Noun

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

Examples of parent in a Sentence

Noun 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Families that qualify for assistance earn below 30% of the area's median income and must be a parent or legal guardian to a minor child. Roxanne De La Rosa, The Arizona Republic, 24 Jan. 2022 Should a student continue to refuse, Byard said, school officials will contact the parent or guardian to discuss the issue. Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2022 About 167,000 children under 18 have lost a parent or other in-home caregiver to COVID-19, according to a December report by researchers from the COVID Collaborative and Social Policy Analytics. Brittny Mejia Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Jan. 2022 Those under 18 must now be off the premises by 3 p.m. or accompanied by a parent or guardian. Caroline Silva, ajc, 14 Jan. 2022 Within these communities, any whisper of potential harm to a parent or baby will spread like wildfire. Grace Browne, Wired, 14 Jan. 2022 The situation becomes more challenging if there is only one parent or caregiver. Katia Hetter, CNN, 13 Jan. 2022 Since only one person is allowed in each vehicle, waivers are required from a parent or guardian for drivers between 7 and 18 years old. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 11 Jan. 2022 Screenings are approximately one hour, and a parent or guardian must remain in the building for the session. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, 7 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even though this new arrival is Menari's first, the primate has learned how to parent from watching other orangutans at the zoo raise their babies. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 30 Dec. 2021 How to live with a child who has experienced trauma, how to appropriately parent them, how to navigate life with that? Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, 23 Nov. 2021 The fourth season started with Dexter and Rita trying to parent their son Harrison but ended with the Trinity Killer murdering Rita, leaving Dexter a single father. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 5 Nov. 2021 Evelyn and her oblivious son Ziggy seek out replacements for each other as Evelyn desperately tries to parent an unassuming teenager at her shelter, while Ziggy fumbles through his pursuit of a brilliant young woman at school. Brent Lang, Variety, 9 Dec. 2021 Evelyn and her oblivious son Ziggy seek out replacements for each other as Evelyn desperately tries to parent an unassuming teenager at her shelter, while Ziggy fumbles through his pursuit of a brilliant young woman at school. Natalie Lin, Vulture, 9 Dec. 2021 Evelyn and her oblivious son Ziggy seek out replacements for each other as Evelyn desperately tries to parent an unassuming teenager at her shelter, while Ziggy fumbles through his pursuit of a brilliant young woman at school. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, 9 Dec. 2021 Trying to parent in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance during a constantly changing pandemic has put people through an emotional wringer. Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2021 Even worse, Dalton has shown a jealous streak and doesn't like that Haley and her ex-Jarrett peacefully co-parent their 6-year-old son Hendrix. Ally Mauch, PEOPLE.com, 3 Dec. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of parent

Noun

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

Verb

1663, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for parent

Noun

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

Verb

derivative of parent entry 1

Learn More About parent

Time Traveler for parent

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near parent

parenesis

parent

parentage

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for parent

Last Updated

27 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Parent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parent. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for parent

parent

noun
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

parent

noun
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 parent (audio) \ adjective

parent

noun
par·​ent

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 parent (audio) \ adjective
parentally adverb

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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