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[pair-uh nt, par-] /ˈpɛər ənt, ˈpær-/
a father or a mother.
an ancestor, precursor, or progenitor.
a source, origin, or cause.
a protector or guardian.
Biology. any organism that produces or generates another.
Physics. the first nuclide in a radioactive series.
being the original source:
a parent organization.
Biology. pertaining to an organism, cell, or complex molecular structure that generates or produces another:
parent cell; parent DNA.
verb (used with object)
to be or act as parent of:
to parent children with both love and discipline.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin parent- (stem of parēns), noun use of present participle of parere to bring forth, breed
Related forms
parentless, adjective
parentlike, adjective
nonparent, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for parent
  • After all, a parent isn't an infinite source of food and protection.
  • Navigating that reality is the key to being a parent.
  • parent pressure has also lowered teachers' absenteeism.
  • Behind the snarl lies a cagey opportunist, proficient hunter, and dutiful parent.
  • Planted, they will produce trees similar but not identical to their two parent trees.
  • My conflict was part of the strange and inevitable burden of responsibility that moves in with an aging parent.
  • And heaven help any lone parent who must pay market rent.
  • One unusual characteristic of this fearsome predator is its caring nature as a parent.
  • Take cuttings from a healthy, vigorous parent plant.
  • Age ratings are more complicated than they first appear, especially if you are a parent who is new to gaming.
British Dictionary definitions for parent


a father or mother
a person acting as a father or mother; guardian
(rare) an ancestor
a source or cause
  1. an organism or organization that has produced one or more organisms or organizations similar to itself
  2. (as modifier) a parent organism
(physics, chem)
  1. a precursor, such as a nucleus or compound, of a derived entity
  2. (as modifier) a parent nucleus, a parent ion
Derived Forms
parenthood, noun
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from Latin parens parent, from parere to bring forth
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 parent
1185, from O.Fr. parent (11c.), from L. parentem (nom. parens) "father or mother, ancestor," noun use of prp. of parere "bring forth, give birth to, produce," from PIE base *per- "to bring forth" (see pare). Began to replace native elder after c.1500. The verb is attested from 1663. The verbal noun parenting is first recorded 1959 (earlier term had been parentcraft, 1930).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parent in Medicine

parent par·ent (pâr'ənt, pār'-)

  1. One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or a mother.

  2. An ancestor; a progenitor.

  3. An organism that produces or generates offspring.

v. par·ent·ed, par·ent·ing, par·ents
  1. To act as a parent to; to rear and nurture.

  2. To cause to come into existence; to serve as a source for; originate.

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

mathematics, data
The ancestor node in a tree that points to the current node (one of its child nodes).

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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