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[nuh-tiv-i-tee, ney-] /nəˈtɪv ɪ ti, neɪ-/
noun, plural nativities.
birth with reference to place or attendant circumstances:
of Irish nativity.
(initial capital letter) the birth of Christ.
(initial capital letter) the church festival commemorating the birth of Christ; Christmas.
(initial capital letter) a representation of the birth of Christ, as in art.
Astrology. a horoscope of a person's birth.
Origin of nativity
before 1150; Middle English nativite < Middle French < Late Latin nātīvitāt- (stem of nātīvitās; see native, -ity); replacing late Old English nativiteth < Old French nativited < Late Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for nativity


noun (pl) -ties
birth or origin, esp in relation to the circumstances surrounding it
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Late Latin nātīvitas birth: see native


the birth of Jesus Christ
the feast of Christmas as a commemoration of this
  1. an artistic representation of the circumstances of the birth of Christ
  2. (as modifier): a Nativity play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nativity

c.1200, from Old French nativité "birth" (12c.), from Late Latin nativitatem (nominative nativitas) "birth," from Latin nativus "born, native" (see native (adj.)). Late Old English had nativiteð, from earlier Old French nativited.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nativity in Culture

Nativity definition

The birth of Jesus, described in two of the Gospels (Matthew and Luke). When Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted in a government census, they found that there was no room for them in the local inn. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a common stable and laid him in a manger (a feeding trough for livestock). Christians believe that Jesus' birth fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies and was attended by miraculous events, such as a star above Bethlehem that drew local shepherds as well as the Wise Men, or Magi, from a distant land.

Note: The Nativity is celebrated at Christmas. We date our present historical era from the birth of Jesus, referring to the years before his birth as b.c. (before Christ) and the years after his birth as a.d. (anno Domini, a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of the Lord”).
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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