Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state of being a mother; motherhood.
  • n. The feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother; motherliness.
  • n. A maternity ward.
  • adj. Relating to or effective during pregnancy, childbirth, or the first months of motherhood: a maternity dress; maternity leave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being a mother; motherhood.
  • n. The state of being pregnant; pregnancy.
  • n. A ward or department in a hospital in which babies are born.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to childbirth or the period during which a woman is pregnant.
  • adj. For use during pregnancy.
  • n. The state of being a mother; motherhood.
  • n. The character of a mother; maternal quality; motherliness.
  • n. The maternity ward; the maternity department of a hospital.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being a mother; motherhood.
  • n. A place for the care of mothers in childbirth; a lying-in ward or hospital.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus
  • n. the kinship relation between an offspring and the mother
  • n. the quality of having or showing the tenderness and warmth and affection of or befitting a mother

Etymologies

French maternité, from Medieval Latin māternitās, from Latin māternus, maternal; see maternal.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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