the state of being a mother; motherhood.
motherly quality; motherliness.
a section of a hospital devoted to the care of women at childbirth and of their newborn infants.
of, pertaining to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child.
for mothers during and after childbirth or for the care of their newborn babies: a maternity hospital.
for wear by pregnant women: maternity clothes.

1605–15; < Medieval Latin māternitās, equivalent to Latin mātern(us) (see maternal) + -itās -ity

prematernity, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To maternity
World English Dictionary
maternity (məˈtɜːnɪtɪ)
1.  motherhood
2.  the characteristics associated with motherhood; motherliness
3.  (modifier) relating to pregnant women or women at the time of childbirth: a maternity ward

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1611, "quality or condition of being a mother," from Fr. maternité "motherhood," from M.L. maternitatem (nom. maternitas), from L. maternus (see maternal). Used from 1893 in ref. to garments designed for pregnant women.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

maternity ma·ter·ni·ty (mə-tûr'nĭ-tē)

  1. The state of being a mother; motherhood.

  2. The feelings or characteristics associated with being a mother; motherliness.

  3. A maternity ward.

Relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or the first months of motherhood.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
But four months into the pregnancy, the bleeding started, and her dreams of
  maternity became a nightmare.
More holidays, maternity and paternity leave, more frequent job rotation and
  share options also now feature.
The law also offers longer maternity leave and other benefits to couples that
  delay childbearing.
Perhaps there's meant to be a whiff of grim maternity in her character: because
  she's a nurse who gives anesthetics.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature