- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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 Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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.