Definition of nativity in English:



  • 1The occasion of a person's birth.

    ‘the place of my nativity’
    • ‘He moved to the city three or four years ago - for reasons he won't disclose, but which might relate to his partner's nativity.’
    • ‘He promised that when the war was over he would return and offer his services to free the land of his nativity.’
    • ‘Thus, once again, a moment of rebirth occurs, a new shining nativity of a new soul, not as a physical entity vulnerable to decomposition, but a living memory to the immortal and indestructible nation.’
    birth, childbirth, delivery
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Astrology dated A horoscope relating to the time of birth; a birth chart.
      • ‘Uranus, which was discovered 11 years after his birth, is prominent in his nativity and there is a powerful resonance between his own chart and that set for the discovery.’
      • ‘Encompassing chart calculation, horary, decumbiture, nativities and directions, it was the first comprehensive astrological textbook to be written in English rather than Latin.’
      • ‘A solar return occurs when the sun in the birth nativity returns to its original position, on the birthday of the individual in question.’
      • ‘To have many planets debilitated in this way in a nativity is considered a sign of obscurity and low birth.’
      • ‘This nativity has many indications of great success.’
  • 2The birth of Jesus Christ.

    • ‘Most readers may be surprised to learn that Mark and John don't mention the nativity at all and Matthew and Luke were not written until around 80 to 85AD.’
    • ‘He started by examining the story of the nativity, sorting out the account given in The Bible from the mythology that was added later.’
    • ‘This delightful carol, often called The Polish Carol, tells the story of the nativity in a simple, childlike manner.’
    • ‘Students were asked to paint a scene depicting the nativity.’
    • ‘Religious elements aside, the story of the nativity has always moved me.’
    • ‘The children from the Convent Primary School acted out the story of the nativity in drama and in song.’
    • ‘Was there a moon in the sky during the night of the nativity?’
    • ‘The Qu'ran has also verses on the Annunciation, Visitation, and Nativity.’
    • ‘The lessons appointed for the first Sunday of Advent, however, point not to the nativity, but to the Second Coming.’
    • ‘Today church pews across Scotland will fill up with worshippers, drawn by faith - or simply tradition - to sing carols and listen to the story of the nativity.’
    • ‘Jeremiah wondered how many Brotherhood artists had attended the crucifixion, or sketched pictures of the nativity.’
    • ‘Naturally you will also be banned from smoking in public, owning a Bible, sending Christmas cards that feature the nativity and smacking your children.’
    • ‘We act out the nativity and sing about 50 Christmas carols, it's lots of fun.’
    • ‘Another teacher had spoken of an angel at the Bethlehem nativity, who had taken pity on a tiny fir-tree, and had commanded a star cluster to rest on its boughs.’
    • ‘What a truly great mystery is the Nativity of our Lord!’
    • ‘Julia also had slides of three windows in Canterbury Cathedral illustrating the tale of the Three Wise Men and their part in the story of the nativity.’
    • ‘Candles were added in the 17th century to symbolise the starlit sky on the night of the nativity - before that, they were hung with paper roses and apples to honour Mary.’
    1. 2.1 A picture, carving, or model representing Jesus Christ's birth.
      as modifier ‘a little crib surrounded with nativity figures’
      • ‘The display was erected after the county commission allowed a nativity display to go up.’
      • ‘At Christmas, the town was dismayed when a nativity crib was stolen from a pensioner's garden.’
      • ‘The souvenir shops, with their olive wood crucifixes and mother of pearl nativity tableaux, are shuttered.’
      • ‘From the advent crown suspended above the nave to the metal nativity figures which are assembled in time for the Crib Service on Christmas Eve, there is always something seasonal to enjoy in the Minster.’
      • ‘Also straight ahead a Christmas scene for those with a sweet tooth, the world's largest nativity made out of chocolate.’
      • ‘Mystery still surrounds the theft of a nativity statue set that was stolen from the Catholic church in Horwich on New Year's Day.’
      • ‘Pupils have brought some traditional festive cheer to a small rural village, by repairing nativity figures and a crib.’
      • ‘This is the ninth year of the nativity crib which will be open to the public from 10 pm to 6pm daily until December 23.’
      • ‘The couple also had a nativity in a stable, which Mr Hope had built himself with figures of camels, donkeys and the three wise men which were more than two feet tall.’
      • ‘The actors comprised mainly of children who portrayed the various nativity characters.’
      • ‘At our church, a small nativity was set, beautiful, with hand carved figured, painted with extraordinary detail.’
      • ‘Yep, the guy behind this quote is the guy who attacked the Tussaud's nativity in December last year.’
      • ‘But this year, residents are fuming after drunken pranksters stole the nativity figures.’
      • ‘The only painting of his to change hands in recent years was a Nativity, stolen in 1969 from a church in Palermo - where Caravaggio had painted it after having escaped from gaol in Malta.’
      • ‘Entitled ‘A Traditional Christmas’ the presentation featured a nativity tableau, traditional carols, poems and rhymes.’
      • ‘Also featured are Caravaggio's Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francisco, Cezanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise and Da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder.’
      • ‘But still, they leave, not just with their olivewood nativity sets and their rosaries, but with their faith.’
      • ‘After we three are home and warm and mama is sprawled asleep, the kid builds a shoebox nativity and the cats and I make a heap.’
      • ‘There are 142 stalls with gift items, children's toys, figures for nativity cribs, Christmas decorations, mulled wine, grilled sausages, and gingerbread.’
      • ‘A couple that vandalized a nativity display got to march through town with the donkey.’
      • ‘This year we filled 200 Christmas gift shoeboxes for the Samaritans appeal while a group of Year 8 pupils made and sold nativity sets to raise money for the Pendle Hospice.’
    2. 2.2 The Christian festival of Christ's birth; Christmas.
      • ‘It was Francis, after all, who ‘humanized’ the nativity of Jesus by celebrating a Christmas Mass in a stable in Greccio in 1223.’
      christmas, christmastime, christmastide, festive season
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 A nativity play.
      • ‘Tots at the nursery had their first taste of acting when they staged a nativity with a modern twist.’
      • ‘On the scrap heap at thirteen, and after my magnificent Herod in the nativity not two years previous.’
      • ‘An awkward, gangly youth known to her peers as ‘Storky’, she made her theatrical debut in a nativity aged six and promptly devoted herself to the world of theatre.’
      • ‘The show stealers of the nativity were the two word perfect girls who played the innkeepers, and the little lad playing Herod.’
      • ‘Then her teachers noticed she wasn't herself and Melissa told me it was because she didn't want to be in the school nativity.’
      • ‘The infants enjoyed their traditional run-up to Christmas in the last few weeks of term with their own version of the nativity, performed for their parents.’
      • ‘If you played Joseph or Mary or an angel at the school nativity, you should not be denied that happy memory.’
      • ‘Hundreds of children have been visiting Roves Farm near Swindon to take part in the nativity with a cast of live animals.’
      • ‘The play group manager says it was the first nativity in more than 30 years.’
      • ‘It was lovely to hear and see youngsters enjoying themselves doing a Nativity.’
      • ‘The Community Church Christmas program co-ordinator said the idea of using live animals in the nativity had been suggested by a visiting minister.’
      • ‘Christmas shopping, decorating the tree, carol singing, the school nativity, wrapping presents, roast turkey followed by Christmas pudding… the list goes on.’
      • ‘Sammy played a donkey in Turton and Edgworth CE Primary School's 1992 nativity.’


Middle English: from Old French nativite, from late Latin nativitas, from Latin nativus ‘arisen by birth’ (see native).