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[je-stey-shuh n]
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  1. the process, state, or period of gestating.
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Origin of gestation

1525–35; < Latin gestātiōn- (stem of gestātiō), equivalent to gestāt(us) (see gestate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsges·ta·tion·al, ges·ta·tive [jes-tuh-tiv, je-stey-] /ˈdʒɛs tə tɪv, dʒɛˈsteɪ-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gestation


    1. the development of the embryo of a viviparous mammal, between conception and birth: about 266 days in humans, 624 days in elephants, and 63 days in cats
    2. (as modifier)gestation period
  1. the development of an idea or plan in the mind
  2. the period of such a development
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Derived Formsgestational or gestative (ˈdʒɛstətɪv, dʒɛˈsteɪ-), adjectivegestatory, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Latin gestātiō a bearing, from gestāre to bear, frequentative of gerere to carry
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

Word Origin and History for gestation


1530s, "riding on horseback, etc., as a form of exercise," from Latin gestationem (nominative gestatio) "a carrying," noun of action from gestare "bear, carry, gestate," frequentative of gerere (past participle gestus) "to bear, carry, bring forth" (see gest). Meaning "action or process of carrying young in the womb" is from 1610s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gestation in Medicine


  1. The period of fetal development from conception until birth; pregnancy.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

gestation in Science


  1. The period of time spent in the uterus between conception and birth. Gestation in humans is about nine months.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.