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maternity

[muh-tur-ni-tee] /məˈtɜr nɪ ti/
noun
1.
the state of being a mother; motherhood.
2.
motherly quality; motherliness.
3.
a section of a hospital devoted to the care of women at childbirth and of their newborn infants.
adjective
4.
of, relating to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child.
5.
for mothers during and after childbirth or for the care of their newborn babies:
a maternity hospital.
6.
for wear by pregnant women:
maternity clothes.
Origin
1605-1615
1605-15; < Medieval Latin māternitās, equivalent to Latin mātern(us) (see maternal) + -itās -ity
Related forms
prematernity, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for prematernity

maternity

/məˈtɜːnɪtɪ/
noun
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 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 prematernity

maternity

n.

1610s, "quality or condition of being a mother," from French maternité "motherhood" (15c.), from Medieval Latin maternitatem (nominative maternitas) "motherhood," from Latin maternus (see maternal). Used from 1893 as a quasi-adjective in reference to garments designed for pregnant women.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prematernity in Medicine

maternity ma·ter·ni·ty (mə-tûr'nĭ-tē)
n.

  1. The state of being a mother; motherhood.

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

  3. A maternity ward.

adj.
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.
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