What does maternal mean?

Definitions for maternal
məˈtɜr nlma·ter·nal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word maternal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. maternaladjective

    characteristic of a mother

    "warm maternal affection for her guest"- Dorothy Sayers

  2. maternaladjective

    relating to or derived from one's mother

    "maternal genes"

  3. parental, maternal, paternaladjective

    relating to or characteristic of or befitting a parent

    "parental guidance"

  4. enate, enatic, maternal(p)adjective

    related on the mother's side

    "my maternal grandmother"


  1. maternaladjective

    Of or pertaining to a mother; having the characteristics of a mother, motherly.

    His weakness seemed to bring out her maternal instincts.

  2. maternaladjective

    Related through the mother, or her side of the family.

    Toby is my maternal uncle.

  3. maternaladjective

    Derived from the mother as opposed to the foetus during pregnancy.

  4. Etymology: From maternel or post-Classical maternalis, from maternus, from mater.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Maternaladjective

    Motherly; befitting or pertaining to a mother.

    Etymology: materne, Fr. maternus, Lat.

    The babe had all that infant care beguiles,
    And early knew his mother in her smiles:
    At his first aptness the maternal love
    Those rudiments of reason did improve. Dryden.


  1. maternal

    Maternal refers to anything related to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood, or anything derived from one's mother. It could be used to describe aspects such as love, instincts, genes, or lineage. It can also apply to societal roles or behaviors associated with being a mother.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Maternaladjective

    of or pertaining to a mother; becoming to a mother; motherly; as, maternal love; maternal tenderness

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Maternal

    ma-tėr′nal, adj. belonging to a mother: motherly.—adv. Mater′nally.—n. Mater′nity, the state, character, or relation of a mother: motherhood: a lying-in hospital. [Fr. maternel (It. maternale)—L. maternusmater, mother.]

Editors Contribution

  1. maternal

    The innate characteristic of a female human of being, acting and behaving like a responsible, just, fair and loving mother.

    The ladies always have this maternal instinct.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2020  

How to pronounce maternal?

How to say maternal in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of maternal in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of maternal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of maternal in a Sentence

  1. Ian Colman:

    Given how prevalent maternal depression is, and that risky adolescent behaviors are associated with poor long-term outcomes in adulthood, we thought better evidence in this area could be really useful.

  2. Joanna Kitlinska:

    This new field of inherited paternal epigenetics needs to be organized into clinically applicable recommendations and lifestyle alternations, and to really understand the epigenetic influences of a child, we need to study the interplay between maternal and paternal effects, as opposed to considering each in isolation.

  3. David Bridgett:

    Depression can affect parent-child interactions, which in turn, may be one way that maternal depression affects children, because we know that children of mothers who are depressed are at higher risk of behavioral and emotional problems, they may need treatment as well.

  4. Harry Peachey:

    She did nurse one cub, but she didn’t nurse the other two, and she wasn’t bringing them toward her. She wasn’t doing all the things that we regard as normal maternal behavior.

  5. Alain Nteff:

    Our mission is really to create a world of mothers who are gifted. A world that is free of maternal and infant death -- a world of gifted moms.

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Translations for maternal

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"maternal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/maternal>.

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