Definition of parent in English:



  • 1A person's father or mother.

    ‘the parents of the bride’
    ‘his adoptive parents’
    • ‘An adopted child is deemed to be a descendent of his adoptive parent or parents.’
    • ‘Both Marie and Jane believe forms should be changed so that they ask for the names of parents rather than mother and father.’
    • ‘The alternative is a private arrangement with the birth mother and the adoptive parents.’
    • ‘The lottery is a metaphor for what can happen to any parent, mother or father, and their children, at the hands of the secret family courts.’
    • ‘It applies to new fathers, adoptive parents and women who do not qualify for paid maternity leave.’
    • ‘As a result, said the unnamed parent, concerned mothers and fathers have pulled more than half of the school's pupils out, leaving a student body numbering about 18.’
    • ‘The fact that the mother is the natural parent of all five children is, of course, a significant factor to take into account.’
    • ‘If you're talking about a child, you're talking about a parent, a father or a mother at the moment of absolute grief, perhaps complete numbness.’
    • ‘A child emulates its parents and if the father is a clerk it may aim to become a supervisor.’
    • ‘Born on the Virgin Islands, he was brought up in New Jersey and Florida, with his mother, her parents and his sister.’
    • ‘Most adoptive parents prefer a child between two and six months of age.’
    • ‘Both died, leaving their brother to become an adoptive parent to their children.’
    • ‘Children and parents, grandparents, singles and young adults are all equally welcome.’
    • ‘Now the youngest victim's mother has advised other parents to warn their children to take extra care.’
    • ‘The emotions and experiences of birth mother, adoptive parent, and child are all embraced by God.’
    • ‘My Dad's parents were actually his mother and step-father, and so my Nan had a different surname to me.’
    • ‘Family and community, husband and wife, father and son, parent and child, were redefined in the later nineteenth century.’
    • ‘The court was told the defendant was suffering from delusions and believed his mother and father were not his parents.’
    • ‘Children can come along with their parents and meet Father Christmas.’
    • ‘He believes what he had to say about the innocent children of the single mothers and lone parents.’
    mother, father
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic A forefather or ancestor.
      ‘God's hand had written in the hearts of our first parents all the rules of good’
      ancestor, forefather, forebear
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An animal or plant from which new ones are derived.
      ‘stems will root down, creating a new crown near the parent’
      • ‘The link between contemporary groups of animals is achieved when at least one animal in a group has a common parent with an animal in another group.’
      • ‘Acalypha wilkesiana, the Fijian fire plant, is the parent of many modern cultivars and is in itself a showy ornamental.’
      • ‘A progeny animal is one derived from sexual reproduction that has at least one cloned animal as a parent (but could result from two cloned animals mating).’
      • ‘By tissue culture methods, these can then be used for the regeneration of another plant like the parent.’
      • ‘For an animal parent to neglect its own offspring would therefore be for it to behave contrary to its nature.’
      • ‘The three propagation methods above will produce a new lily plant identical to the parent.’
      • ‘We constructed plasmid fusions by cloning the promoter regions of the wild-type parent and the inversion mutant onto the pRS550 plasmid.’
    3. 1.3 A source or origin of a smaller or less important part.
      as modifier ‘some of the whetstones have been transported up to 400 km from the parent rock’
      • ‘Metamorphic rock names may reflect any or all of the following: the nature of the parent rock; the grade of metamorphism and the minerals present; the texture of the rock.’
      • ‘To begin with, heat must be injected into the parent rock material in order for partial melting to occur.’
      source, origin, genesis, originator, root, fountain, cause, author, architect
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4often as modifier An organization or company which owns or controls a number of subsidiaries.
      ‘policy considerations were determined largely by the parent company’
      • ‘The management contract is held by the main provider itself and not by a parent organization that controls the main provider and the provider-based entity.’
      • ‘In Pegler's language, controllable capital employed is capital within its control as a subsidiary, as opposed to capital under the control of the parent company.’
      • ‘Although the Susquehanna retained its separate corporate status, it was no longer able to set lower rates and in business and operating terms increasingly became a subsidiary of the parent company.’
      • ‘Most of these services are municipally organized, but some take the form of nonprofit foundations, private companies, and parent cooperatives.’
      • ‘Marsh is relying on the corporate clients of its parent company to publicise its service, and expects that employees will view it as an additional voluntary benefit.’
      • ‘Will products and their parent organizations claim a right to privacy?’
      • ‘The parent organization is a limited liability company of General Motors and General Dynamics, located in Sterling Heights, Michigan.’
      • ‘Managing the strategic direction of a company's facilities is the glue that binds the facility management organization to its parent company.’
      • ‘China Telecom's management said on Wednesday it had no plans to acquire more networks from its parent, ruling out new revenue streams.’
      • ‘A possible explanation of the correlation is that a large part of trade is composed of intra-firm trade, e.g. trade between a subsidiary and its parent company.’
      • ‘Sometimes the creditors will include the parent company or the subsidiary next up the line.’
      • ‘In any case, such setbacks have been rare in a career that has seen the Barr group's parent company, Barr Holdings Ltd, grow from eight employees to about 1,500.’
      • ‘Company Reports are available for both parent companies and subsidiary companies.’
      • ‘Most of the former TIP workers are either retired or working for other subsidiaries of the parent company.’
      • ‘Domestic laws are patchy and unevenly applied in poor countries, and TNCs can avoid prosecution by exploiting the legal separation between parent companies and their subsidiaries.’
      • ‘One significant part of stability is financial stability of the parent organization.’
      • ‘It's also a big corporate parent company that owns a lot of little local subsidiaries, including the old US West.’
      • ‘Ravenel, who started at Liberty a year ago, will continue to consult for the company and its parent organization, Liberty Media Group.’
      • ‘Central Parking Systems, the parent company of Control Plus, is a US-quoted firm and one of the biggest parking enforcement bodies in the world.’
      • ‘The fact that these services developed at all is amazing, given the constraints of the parent companies or organizations.’


[with object]
  • Be or act as a parent to (a child)

    ‘all children are special to those who parent them’
    no object ‘we are losing our intuitive ability to parent’
    • ‘She worried that V.C. had a number of physical complaints, which affected the way she parented her children.’
    • ‘We parent in response to the way we were parented.’
    • ‘Such parenting behavior has lasting effects; parents who parent poorly tend to have been parented poorly themselves, and without intervention, the cycle of substance use and poor parenting perpetuates itself.’
    • ‘Liz is used to working with groups of parents who ask for support with parenting their teenagers.’
    • ‘This goes to his credibility and judgment, and in that sense bears on his ability to parent Jeremy.’
    • ‘Very often the father has left, and if he parents the boy at all, it's likely to be poor parenting.’
    • ‘Heck, some parents even took in their child's partner with open arms and parented both children.’
    • ‘In a recent study of substance-dependent men and women entering treatment, 20% of these adults lived with and parented a child.’
    • ‘Often too the parents are severely traumatized by the experience of detention, which reduces their ability to parent their children.’
    • ‘In addition, the children in these families are parented by monoracial individuals who cannot fully understand what it means to be biracial.’
    • ‘Opposition parties say laws are needed urgently to deal with the issue of surrogate parenting after an Irish gay couple parented triplets through a surrogate mother in California.’
    • ‘In Jungian theory, the personal father is the male whom the child knows and by whom he or she is parented.’
    • ‘Surely these boys will one day be fathers and the more they know of parenting the better they will be as parents.’
    • ‘This isn't the case, clearly, because not all families are parented by lesbians.’
    • ‘Now everybody here is really focused on rehabilitation and advocating for the girls, giving them a better chance of parenting than they had of being parented.’
    • ‘His androgyny built in me a kind of trust, later reinforced by the relationships I would have with a few very important gay men, who parented me and made me who I am today.’
    • ‘There are also other kinds of families in this country, and the statistics from the Ministry of Social Development that have been revealed point out that 0.2 percent of families are parented by same-sex couples.’
    • ‘The number of children being parented consisted of the sum of all children living in the family home.’
    • ‘Anyone who has ever parented small children knows how difficult it is to get them to eat something they would prefer not to eat.’
    • ‘Finally, the finding of lack of economic consequences to the applicant resulting from a relationship where she has parented a child since 1982 is troubling as a step in determining standing to claim spousal support.’
    bring up, be the parent of, look after, take care of, rear, raise, nurture
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin parent- ‘bringing forth’, from the verb parere. The verb dates from the mid 17th century.