Definition of maternity in English:



mass noun
  • 1Motherhood.

    ‘she is not a woman with an interest in maternity’
    • ‘Family education is required to recognize maternity as a social function.’
    • ‘In appropriating reproductive power without women, it enacts an appropriation of maternity by patriarchy.’
    • ‘The National Birth & Motherhood Survey 2002 paints a grim picture of modern maternity.’
    • ‘It's a show that hangs the dirty nappy laundry of maternity out to dry and brings both the laughter and tears of motherhood to the stage.’
    • ‘Other works include a history of maternity in New Zealand and a critical look at the foundation of the Plunket Society.’
    • ‘People say that maternity is never in doubt but paternity always is.’
    • ‘DNA testing was done on the biological mothers to confirm maternity of the children who participated.’
    • ‘How effortlessly she transcends the symbiotic bonds of maternity!’
    • ‘As an image of serene worshipful maternity she has yet to be matched.’
    • ‘If they work for a foreign company, maternity can be legitimate reason for them to be fired.’
    • ‘The dialogues are at their most poignant in those scenes that deal with the experience of maternity.’
    • ‘Her rediscovered maternity is a little overwritten at the end.’
    • ‘But it's maternity and motherhood that are the issues closest to her heart and first off her tongue.’
    • ‘Both images collapse universality and individuality into monumentalized maternity.’
    • ‘Without it, the choice is between celibacy or the constant risk of maternity.’
    • ‘Turning maternity into a civic duty, Fascism put more responsibility on the shoulders of women, without granting them any new rights.’
    • ‘Speaking from the mother's position, she shows that maternity is characterised by division.’
    • ‘Precious pastrycooks declared it needed to rest on an eiderdown before it went in the oven, after which baking took place in an atmosphere of maternity.’
    • ‘She discovered something that was to become the first and last assertion of her self: maternity.’
    • ‘Unlike Achilles, who enjoyed divine maternity, Odysseus is solely of human parentage.’
    motherhood, parenthood
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually as modifier The period during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth.
      ‘maternity clothes’
      • ‘Women often experience a lack of sufficient financial support during maternity.’
      • ‘She said when she gave birth to five-month-old Keane, she was left with no benefits at all except maternity pay.’
      • ‘Speaking of being large and in charge, let us talk for a moment about the issue of maternity clothes.’
      • ‘Then don't forget the minimum wage, lone parent support and maternity and paternity arrangements.’
      • ‘Ground level contains maternity outpatient services, with paediatric outpatients above.’
      • ‘The elevator to the maternity ward took a very long time.’
      • ‘What will happen to the child that was conceived with the father out of work and the mother in need of support during maternity?’
      • ‘One of our employees recently found out she was pregnant, so everyone is anxious to see a good maternity policy in place.’
      • ‘A number of these patterns are concerned with maternity and child health.’
      • ‘Expectant mothers can register at any maternity or child welfare centre.’
      • ‘She still works out five days a week and the maternity clothes have been put away for good.’
      • ‘In its report on access to maternity services the committee says that not all families across the country are getting access to the services that they need.’
      • ‘Is there anywhere in Bangkok to buy reasonably-priced maternity clothes?’
      • ‘And for you women who've been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look.’
      • ‘Mothers could transfer some maternity pay and leave to fathers.’
      • ‘The party would also want to help families, by giving improved maternity benefits so that a parent could stay at home.’
      • ‘The plan covers options for life insurance, widowhood insurance and maternity benefits.’
      • ‘It's not easy being pregnant and finding nice maternity clothes.’
      • ‘Her friend had her suitcase, full of her maternity clothes and normal clothes as well.’
      • ‘Often they exclude provision for maternity and childcare.’


Early 17th century: from French maternité, from Latin maternus, from mater ‘mother’.