Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother.
  • noun The act or process of bearing young; parturition.
  • noun The circumstances or conditions relating to this event, as its time or location.
  • noun The set of characteristics or circumstances received from one's ancestors; inheritance.
  • noun Origin; extraction.
  • noun Noble or high status.
  • noun A beginning or commencement. synonym: beginning.
  • transitive verb To deliver (a baby).
  • transitive verb Chiefly Southern US To bear (a child).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The fact of being born; nativity.
  • noun By extension, any act or fact of coming into existence; beginning; origination: as, the birth of Protestantism.
  • noun The act of bearing or bringing forth; parturition: as, “at her next birth,”
  • noun The condition into which a person is born; lineage; extraction; descent: as, Grecian birth; noble birth: sometimes, absolutely, descent from noble or honorable parents and ancestors: as, a man of birth.
  • noun That which is born; that which is produced.
  • noun Nature; kind; sex; natural character.
  • noun In astrology, nativity; fortune.
  • noun See berth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete See berth.
  • noun The act or fact of coming into life, or of being born; -- generally applied to human beings.
  • noun Lineage; extraction; descent; sometimes, high birth; noble extraction.
  • noun The condition to which a person is born; natural state or position; inherited disposition or tendency.
  • noun The act of bringing forth.
  • noun That which is born; that which is produced, whether animal or vegetable.
  • noun Origin; beginning.
  • noun (Theol.) regeneration, or the commencement of a religious life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The process of childbearing.
  • noun countable An instance of childbirth.
  • noun countable A beginning or start; a point of origin.
  • noun uncountable The circumstances of one's background, ancestry, or upbringing.
  • adjective A familial relationship established by childbirth.
  • verb To bear or give birth to (a child).
  • verb figuratively To produce, give rise to.

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

  • verb cause to be born
  • noun the process of giving birth
  • noun the time when something begins (especially life)
  • noun the kinship relation of an offspring to the parents
  • noun a baby born; an offspring
  • noun the event of being born

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

(Can we verify(+) this etymology?) From Old Norse burðr (rare variant byrð), which replaced Old English gebyrd (rare variant byrþ) in Middle English. The Old Norse word derived from the Proto-Germanic *burþiz, *burdiz; another descendant of this root is the Old Frisian berde, berd. The Old English word derived from Proto-Germanic *gaburdiz; another descendant of this root is the Old High German giburt (Middle High German geburt, modern German Geburt). All of these words derive from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-.

Examples

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  • London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirtyfive for years.

    -Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

    July 29, 2009