- 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
Examples from the Web for maternally
Miss Trevor clasped him close to her and kissed him maternally.Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1909 to 1922
Lucy Maud Montgomery
She gave him a watering-pot, and watched him maternally; but did not put a hand to it.A Simpleton
"We'll never get that back on the roof, my dear boy," Alix said maternally.Sisters
Terry Landry asked, patting Sim maternally on her fair head.Missing at Marshlands
Where she had meant to be maternally peremptory she became querulous.Coquette
- of, relating to, derived from, or characteristic of a mother
- related through the mother's side of the familyhis maternal uncle
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
Word Origin and History for maternally
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.