Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[French maternité, from Medieval Latin māternitās, from Latin māternus, maternal; see maternal.]

Examples

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