[ muh-tur-ni-tee ]
/ məˈtɜr nɪ ti /


the state of being a mother; motherhood.
motherly quality; motherliness.
a section of a hospital devoted to the care of women at childbirth and of their newborn infants.


of, relating to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child.
for mothers during and after childbirth or for the care of their newborn babies: a maternity hospital.
for wear by pregnant women: maternity clothes.

Origin of maternity

1605–15; < Medieval Latin māternitās, equivalent to Latin mātern(us) (see maternal) + -itās -ity

Related forms

pre·ma·ter·ni·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maternity

British Dictionary definitions for maternity


/ (məˈtɜːnɪtɪ) /


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

Medicine definitions for maternity


[ mə-tûrnĭ-tē ]


The state of being a mother; motherhood.
The feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother; motherliness.
A maternity ward.


Relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or the first months of motherhood.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.