[ pair-uhnt, par- ]
See synonyms for: parentparentedparentingparents on

  1. a father or a mother.

  2. an ancestor, precursor, or progenitor.

  1. a source, origin, or cause.

  2. a protector or guardian.

  3. Biology. any organism that produces or generates another.

  4. Physics. the first nuclide in a radioactive series.

  1. being the original source: a parent organization.

  2. Biology. pertaining to an organism, cell, or complex molecular structure that generates or produces another: parent cell; parent DNA.

verb (used with object)
  1. to be or act as parent of: to parent children with both love and discipline.

Origin of parent

1375–1425; late Middle English (<Middle French ) <Latin parent- (stem of parēns), noun use of present participle of parere to bring forth, breed

Other words from parent

  • par·ent·less, adjective
  • par·ent·like, adjective
  • non·par·ent, noun

Words Nearby parent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use parent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for parent


/ (ˈpɛərənt) /

  1. a father or mother

  2. a person acting as a father or mother; guardian

  1. rare an ancestor

  2. a source or cause

    • an organism or organization that has produced one or more organisms or organizations similar to itself

    • (as modifier): a parent organism

  3. physics chem

    • a precursor, such as a nucleus or compound, of a derived entity

    • (as modifier): a parent nucleus; a parent ion

Origin of parent

C15: via Old French from Latin parens parent, from parere to bring forth

Derived forms of parent

  • parenthood, noun

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