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[burth] /bɜrθ/
an act or instance of being born:
the day of his birth.
the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring; childbirth; parturition:
a difficult birth.
lineage; extraction; descent:
of Grecian birth.
high or noble lineage:
to be foolishly vain about one's birth.
natural heritage:
a musician by birth.
any coming into existence; origin; beginning:
the birth of Protestantism; the birth of an idea.
Archaic. something that is born.
verb (used with object), Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
to give birth to.
to assist in giving birth; act as midwife for.
give birth to,
  1. to bear (a child).
  2. to initiate; originate:
    Her hobby gave birth to a successful business.
1150-1200; Middle English byrthe < Scandinavian; compare Old Swedish byrth; cognate with Old English gebyrd, Old High German giburt, Gothic gabaurths
Related forms
multibirth, noun
Can be confused
berth, birth.
3. parentage, ancestry, line, blood, family. 6. start, commencement, inception, genesis; launching, inauguration. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for birth
  • Many people have responded about tenure-track positions and taking time off after giving birth.
  • She also has to be impregnated and give birth so that she'll lactate.
  • The general announcement traditionally comes with the birth itself, sadly because of the high mortality rates of old.
  • They have even turned around the country's declining birth rate.
  • Early whales plied the shallows but still hauled themselves onto shore, probably to rest and to give birth.
  • There were also four females who gave birth for the first time.
  • Babies also flex their mental muscles months before birth.
  • So, good birth control that you only have to think about every three months, or every five years.
  • Other researchers were studying skin diseases, incontinence after giving birth and hair loss.
  • The mystery of why galaxies formed early in the history of the universe give birth to more stars than modern ones has been solved.
British Dictionary definitions for birth


the process of bearing young; parturition; childbirth related adjective natal
the act or fact of being born; nativity
the coming into existence of something; origin
ancestry; lineage: of high birth
noble ancestry: a man of birth
natural or inherited talent: an artist by birth
(archaic) the offspring or young born at a particular time or of a particular mother
give birth
  1. to bear (offspring)
  2. to produce, originate, or create (an idea, plan, etc)
verb (transitive) (rare)
to bear or bring forth (a child)
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse byrth; related to Gothic gabaurths, Old Swedish byrdh, Old High German berd child; see bear1, bairn
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
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Word Origin and History for birth

early 13c., from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse *byrðr (replacing cognate Old English gebyrd "birth, descent, race; offspring; nature; fate"), from Proto-Germanic *gaburthis (cf. Old Frisian berd, Old Saxon giburd, Dutch geboorte, Old High German giburt, German geburt, Gothic gabaurþs), from PIE *bhrto past participle of root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children" (cf. Sanskrit bhrtih "a bringing, maintenance," Latin fors, genitive fortis "chance;" see bear (v.)). Suffix -th is for "process" (as in bath, death). Meaning "parentage, lineage, extraction" (revived from Old English) is from mid-13c. Birth control is from 1914; birth rate from 1859. Birth certificate is from 1842.


mid-13c., from birth (n.). Related: Birthed; birthing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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birth in Medicine

birth (bûrth)

  1. The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother.

  2. The act or process of bearing young; parturition.

  3. The circumstances or conditions relating to this event, as its time or location.

  4. The set of characteristics or circumstances received from one's ancestors; inheritance.

  5. Origin; extraction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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birth in Science
Noun  The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of its mother, seen in all mammals except monotremes.

Adjective  Present at birth, as a defect in a bodily structure.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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birth in the Bible

As soon as a child was born it was washed, and rubbed with salt (Ezek. 16:4), and then swathed with bandages (Job 38:9; Luke 2:7, 12). A Hebrew mother remained forty days in seclusion after the birth of a son, and after the birth of a daughter double that number of days. At the close of that period she entered into the tabernacle or temple and offered up a sacrifice of purification (Lev. 12:1-8; Luke 2:22). A son was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, being thereby consecrated to God (Gen. 17:10-12; comp. Rom. 4:11). Seasons of misfortune are likened to the pains of a woman in travail, and seasons of prosperity to the joy that succeeds child-birth (Isa. 13:8; Jer. 4:31; John 16:21, 22). The natural birth is referred to as the emblem of the new birth (John 3:3-8; Gal. 6:15; Titus 3:5, etc.).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with birth


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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