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. 2019
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
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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.