- 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.
Origin of maternal
1475–85;Related formsma·ter·nal·ism, nounma·ter·nal·is·tic, adjectivema·ter·nal·ly, adverbnon·ma·ter·nal, adjectivenon·ma·ter·nal·ly, adverbqua·si-ma·ter·nal, adjectivequa·si-ma·ter·nal·ly, adverbun·ma·ter·nal, adjectiveun·ma·ter·nal·ly, adverb
< Medieval Latin māternālis,
equivalent to Latin mātern(us
) (māter mother1
adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for maternalism
Historical Examples of maternalism
British Dictionary definitions for maternalism
Derived Formsmaternalism, nounmaternalistic, adjectivematernally, adverb
- of, relating to, derived from, or characteristic of a mother
- related through the mother's side of the familyhis maternal uncle
Word Origin for maternal
C15: from Medieval Latin māternālis, from Latin māternus, from māter mother
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for maternalism
late 15c., from Old French maternel (14c.), from Vulgar Latin *maternalis, from Latin maternus "maternal, of a mother," from mater "mother" (see mother (n.1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Relating to or characteristic of a mother.
- Inherited from one's mother.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.