Definition of maternal in US English:



  • 1Relating to a mother, especially during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth.

    ‘maternal care’
    ‘maternal age’
    • ‘The observed relation between maternal age and caesarean section cannot be explained by the obstetric complications we considered.’
    • ‘The Health center receives an average of 15 women per day for maternal care.’
    • ‘We therefore included only the controls matched for maternal age, infant sex, and parity.’
    • ‘In addition, the female fetus itself influenced the course of maternal asthma through pregnancy.’
    • ‘It is not known if maternal depression is associated with failure to thrive.’
    • ‘First is the inherent colinearity between maternal smoking in pregnancy and childhood.’
    • ‘There are both affective and cognitive components to maternal satisfaction.’
    • ‘When test results are negative, it may help reduce maternal anxiety earlier.’
    • ‘The importance of family planning in reducing maternal mortality is uncontroversial.’
    • ‘We have the highest standard of maternal care and that's something to be proud of.’
    • ‘And then I think our maternal care is very good compared with other countries.’
    • ‘Nowhere is this truer than in evaluating the impact of maternal exposures in pregnancy that may affect health of the fetus in later life.’
    • ‘Once colic resolves, there is little lasting effect on levels of maternal anxiety or depression.’
    • ‘Such modelling takes account of the maternal age distribution of the relevant population.’
    • ‘Untreated maternal depression, on the other hand, may have an adverse effect on development.’
    • ‘Researchers are at a loss to explain the link between maternal depression and childhood aggression.’
    • ‘Adjustment for maternal age did not alter the results.’
    • ‘We know of no study of mood disorders in children that has examined maternal drinking during pregnancy.’
    • ‘There was no evidence to show an effect of maternal or paternal age on the frequency of nondisjunction.’
    • ‘The necessity of maternal care to offspring survival is the topic of Chapter Two.’
    on one's mother's side, on the distaff side
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Denoting feelings associated with or typical of a mother; motherly.
      ‘maternal instincts’
      • ‘These experiences had a profound effect and undoubtedly stirred her powerful maternal feelings.’
      • ‘For my friend, maternal affection is the only true expression of love.’
      • ‘Whatever defects of character the new women may eventually acquire, lack of maternal affection will not be one of them.’
      • ‘She says she felt a strong jolt of maternal love when she looked at the first picture of her ultrasound scan.’
      • ‘Yes, this Catherine, his Catherine who had taught him maternal love, was his real mother.’
      • ‘If chicks are seen along with a hen, it portrays maternal love and procreation.’
      • ‘The greatness of maternal love has been the topic of many an immortal piece of writing.’
      • ‘Although I am fairly open-minded, my maternal feelings tend to rear their ugly head at this issue.’
      • ‘It was fear of the maternal rage that would surely follow my brother's blabbing that made me plead for mercy.’
      • ‘The builder's costs had been funded by his mother under loans motivated by maternal affection and made in the belief that her son's claim was bona fide.’
      • ‘My mother had been dead for over five years, and her maternal affection for me had gone with her.’
      • ‘But, for women there are powerful instincts and maternal feelings at play.’
      • ‘Different combinations of bows and sashes were arranged for inspection and I saw a glow of squishy maternal pride develop in my mother's eyes.’
      • ‘Espying her son, now released, in the distance, she is unable to contain her maternal joy.’
      • ‘So I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice at the altar of maternal love.’
      • ‘She just couldn't seem to invoke any maternal feelings inside of herself.’
      • ‘As was once said, maternal love is the greatest love in the world.’
      • ‘And he knows that my dog and cat are not a substitute for maternal love.’
      • ‘The portrait shows Lady Caroline's tender, maternal side, clasping her son, who died young.’
      • ‘What distinguishes his recent work is an almost maternal sympathy for the perverseness of the human animal - and the twists in its fate.’
      motherly, maternalistic
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2attributive Related through the mother's side of the family.
      ‘my maternal grandfather’
      • ‘My maternal uncles and their families barely escaped getting killed.’
      • ‘I'm still not exactly sure how he's related to me, but I think he was my maternal grandfather's brother.’
      • ‘Next in line is the maternal grandfather but, says the study, only because he's living with the grandmother.’
      • ‘She's even broken her maternal family tradition by dressing in a fashionable, appealing and innovative manner.’
      • ‘I'm not sure about the maternal side of the family, but I don't think it is any further back than that.’
      • ‘My maternal grandfather died within two weeks of my birth.’
      • ‘My maternal grandfather used to play piano at cinemas during silent films.’
      • ‘It is not just passed on from the maternal side of the family and may affect siblings differently.’
      • ‘My husband's maternal family can be traced back to the early archives at Fulneck, founded 1754.’
      • ‘He has been in the care of the Society and extended family members on his maternal side for different lengths of time.’
      • ‘I was told of a Native American on my maternal grandmother's side.’
      • ‘The maternal side were minor landed gentry from Lorraine with a tincture of Norman blood.’
      • ‘To what extent would that be offset by extension of the child's relationships with the maternal family and homeland?’
      • ‘He said the greatest lesson he learned from his maternal grandfather was the support he offered grieving families.’
      • ‘He has reason to be concerned as his mother and grandfather on his maternal side died of a sudden heart attack in their late fifties.’
      • ‘My maternal grandfather died the best part of twenty years ago.’
      • ‘I have gone to the trouble to make peace with my father and the rest of our family including my maternal grandfather before he died.’
      • ‘My parents had divorced but my maternal family was very religious.’
      • ‘As a child, his family lived with his maternal grandparents of whom he was very fond.’
      • ‘I just am concerned with letting her bond with her maternal side of the family.’


Late 15th century: from French maternel, from Latin maternus, from mater ‘mother’.