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See more synonyms for maternity on Thesaurus.com
  1. the state of being a mother; motherhood.
  2. motherly quality; motherliness.
  3. a section of a hospital devoted to the care of women at childbirth and of their newborn infants.
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  1. of, relating to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child.
  2. for mothers during and after childbirth or for the care of their newborn babies: a maternity hospital.
  3. for wear by pregnant women: maternity clothes.
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Origin of maternity

1605–15; < Medieval Latin māternitās, equivalent to Latin mātern(us) (see maternal) + -itās -ity
Related formspre·ma·ter·ni·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for maternity


  1. motherhood
  2. the characteristics associated with motherhood; motherliness
  3. (modifier) relating to pregnant women or women at the time of childbirtha maternity ward
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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 maternity


1610s, "quality or condition of being a mother," from French maternité "motherhood" (15c.), from Medieval Latin maternitatem (nominative maternitas) "motherhood," from Latin maternus (see maternal). Used from 1893 as a quasi-adjective in reference to garments designed for pregnant women.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

maternity in Medicine


  1. The state of being a mother; motherhood.
  2. The feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother; motherliness.
  3. A maternity ward.
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  1. Relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or the first months of motherhood.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.