of, pertaining to, having the qualities of, or befitting a mother: maternal instincts.
related through a mother: his maternal aunt.
derived from a mother: maternal genes.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- ma·ter·nal·ism, noun
- ma·ter·nal·is·tic, adjective
- ma·ter·nal·ly, adverb
- non·ma·ter·nal, adjective
- non·ma·ter·nal·ly, adverb
- qua·si-ma·ter·nal, adjective
- qua·si-ma·ter·nal·ly, adverb
- un·ma·ter·nal, adjective
- un·ma·ter·nal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use maternal in a sentence
As scholars who study prenatal and postnatal stress, maternal nutrition and the brain development of children, we can tell you the pandemic has dramatically changed the pregnancy experience.Pregnancy During A Pandemic: The Stress Of COVID-19 On Pregnant Women And New Mothers Is Showing | LGBTQ-Editor | September 23, 2020 | No Straight News
After a brief stay in the home of her father and stepmother, Stewart had moved in with her maternal uncle, Steve Blake, and his wife, Laura, who was a schoolteacher.Her Stepfather Admitted to Sexually Abusing Her. That Wasn’t Enough to Keep Her Safe. | by Nadia Sussman | September 18, 2020 | ProPublica
Female cubs that reach adulthood can grow a maternal line, which helps boost that family group’s rank.
My maternal grandfather was a house painter, and his dad before him, and his dad before him, and so on, going back before the Civil War.
And, Golding’s team showed, kids whose maternal grandmothers smoked while pregnant were slightly more likely to have autism than were kids whose maternal grandmothers didn’t smoke.Decades-long project is linking our health to the environment | Lindsey Konkel | March 12, 2020 | Science News For Students
Advanced maternal age dramatically increases the risk of maternal mortality as well as birth defects like Down Syndrome.
Genes passed down through the maternal side, though, were found to be a “perfect mitochondrial match.”Richard III’s DNA Shows Tudors May Have No Claim to the Throne | Charlotte Lytton | December 2, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Some women who want to be mothers and have maternal love to give should have the ability to do just that.Have Sperm, Will Travel: The ‘Natural Inseminators’ Helping Women Avoid the Sperm Bank | Elizabeth Picciuto | November 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
There were rising export numbers, education programs, and maternal health efforts.
How her role became more “maternal rather than marital,” and branding Hawking an “all-powerful emperor” and “masterly puppeteer.”The Other Side of Stephen Hawking: Strippers, Aliens, and Disturbing Abuse Claims | Marlow Stern | November 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In passing to her own chamber she met the Emperor, and, in the agitation of her maternal fears, told him all that had passed.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4 | Jane Porter
Here Letty drew the coverlet from the face of the sleeping babe, and displayed his chubby proportions with maternal pride.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
If any one doubts it let him compare the matrimonial opportunities of the ugly maternal girl and the ugly clever girl.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
Her mother pressed the coveted treasure to her bosom with maternal love, more calm, and deep, and enduring.Madame Roland, Makers of History | John S. C. Abbott
An offer which Jane received from a very honest, industrious, and thrifty jeweler, aroused anew a mother's maternal solicitude.Madame Roland, Makers of History | John S. C. Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for maternal
of, relating to, derived from, or characteristic of a mother
related through the mother's side of the family: his maternal uncle
- maternalism, noun
- maternalistic, adjective
- maternally, adverb
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