9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[muh-tur-nl] /məˈtɜr nl/
of, pertaining to, having the qualities of, or befitting a mother:
maternal instincts.
related through a mother:
his maternal aunt.
derived from a mother:
maternal genes.
Origin of maternal
1475-85; < Medieval Latin māternālis, equivalent to Latin mātern(us) (māter mother + -nus adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
maternalism, noun
maternalistic, adjective
maternally, adverb
nonmaternal, adjective
nonmaternally, adverb
quasi-maternal, adjective
quasi-maternally, adverb
unmaternal, adjective
unmaternally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for maternal
  • In mentioning organizations working on maternal health, there are others that also deserve a shout-out.
  • Yet the vast amount of the scholarship on human parenting focuses on maternal behavior.
  • The second group keep their maternal accents, whereas the first group find it much easier and more natural to translate.
  • My parents met at my maternal grandfather's bowling center, where my dad competed.
  • Some readers have been asking about maternal mortality figures, so let me explain them a bit.
  • Perhaps that is to ensure maternal care of their own brood.
  • In parthenogenesis, an unfertilized egg develops into an embryo using its two sets of maternal chromosomes.
  • Some lizards and many other animals reproduce with only maternal genes, but mammals don't.
  • And there was no discernible difference between the groups in maternal satisfaction or the amount of fetal distress.
  • It is likely to have more to do with your adjunct status and all the problems that go with that, than your maternal status.
British Dictionary definitions for maternal


of, relating to, derived from, or characteristic of a mother
related through the mother's side of the family: his maternal uncle
Derived Forms
maternalism, noun
maternalistic, adjective
maternally, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin māternālis, from Latin māternus, from māter mother
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 maternal

late 15c., from Old French maternel (14c.), from Vulgar Latin *maternalis, from Latin maternus "maternal, of a mother," from mater "mother" (see mother (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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maternal in Medicine

maternal ma·ter·nal (mə-tûr'nəl)

  1. Relating to or characteristic of a mother.

  2. Inherited from one's mother.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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