birth

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English birthe (1250), from earlier burthe, burde,[1] from Old Norse burðr, byrd[2] (Old Swedish byrth, Swedish börd), replacing Old English ġebyrd (rare variant byrþ)[3], equivalent to bear +‎ -th (compare also berth). The Old Norse is from Proto-Germanic *burdiz (compare Old Frisian berde, berd); Old English ġebyrd is from prefixed *gaburþiz (compare Dutch geboorte, German Geburt), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰr̥tis (compare Latin fors (luck), Old Irish brith), from *bʰer- (to carry, bear). More at bear.

Noun[edit]

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birth (countable and uncountable, plural births)

  1. (uncountable) The process of childbearing; the beginning of life.
  2. (countable) An instance of childbirth.
    Intersex babies account for roughly one per cent of all births.
  3. (countable) A beginning or start; a point of origin.
    the birth of an empire
  4. (uncountable) The circumstances of one's background, ancestry, or upbringing.
    He was of noble birth, but fortune had not favored him.
    • 1843, William H. Prescott, History Of The Conquest Of Mexico And History Of The Conquest Of Peru[1], The Modern Library, page 42:
      without reference to birth, but solely for their qualifications
    • 1861, Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage:
      Lucy [] had no fortune, which, though a minor evil, was an evil; and she had no birth, in the high-life sense of the word, which was a greater evil.
  5. That which is born.
    • 1692, Ben Jonson, “Epigrams”, in The Works of Ben Jonson[2], page 288:
      That poets are far rarer births than kings.
    • 1761, Joseph Addison, The Works of Joseph Addison[3], volume 3, John Baskerville, page 49:
      Others hatch their eggs and tend the birth till it is able to shift for itself.
  6. Misspelling of berth.
    • 1816, [Jane Austen], chapter VII, in Mansfield Park, second edition, volume III, London: [] J[ohn] Murray, [], page 151:
      [] She lays close to the Endymion, between her and the Cleopatra, just to the eastward of the sheer hulk.” “Ha!” cried William, “thats just where I should have put her myself. It’s the best birth at Spithead. []
Antonyms[edit]
  • (beginning of life): death
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective[edit]

birth (not comparable)

  1. A familial relationship established by childbirth.
    Her birth father left when she was a baby; she was raised by her mother and stepfather.
Synonyms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English birthen, birðen, from the noun (see above).

Verb[edit]

birth (third-person singular simple present births, present participle birthing, simple past and past participle birthed)

  1. (transitive) To bear or give birth to (a child).
    • 1939, Sidney Howard, Ben Hecht, Jo Swerling, John Van Druten, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Gone with the Wind (film):
      I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!
    • 2010, BioWare, Mass Effect 2 (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →OCLC, PC, scene: Normandy SR-2:
      Kelly: Is it true we have a pod containing a baby krogan down in the cargo hold?
      Shepard: Not a baby. He's a full-grown super soldier ready for combat.
      Kelly: Please be careful if you decide to... err... birth him? His personality is completely unknown.
    • 2023 March 5, Jonathan Bouquet, “May I have a word about… being stuck in a permacrisis”, in The Observer[4], →ISSN:
      She cites some recent examples from the papers: “I birthed two babies in rapid succession”; Beyoncé “birthed her twins”; while somewhere else in the same paper a woman proudly proclaimed: “I birthed a calf!”. She ends: “My objection to the American usage is that it seems to stress rather crudely the muscular process of bringing forth a baby, whereas the graceful British English term ‘to give birth to’ is much more dignified!”
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To produce, give rise to.
    • 2006, R. Bruce Hull, Infinite Nature[5], University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 156:
      Biological evolution created a human mind that enabled cultural evolution, which now outpaces and outclasses the force that birthed it.
Usage notes[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
References[edit]
  1. ^ Robert K. Barnhart, ed., Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (1988; reprint, Edinburgh: Chambers, 2008), 95.
  2. ^ Richard Cleasby and Gudbrand Vigfusson's 1874 Icelandic-English dictionary.
  3. ^ Joseph Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller's 1898 Anglo-Saxon dictionary.

Albanian[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From birë (hole).

Noun[edit]

birth m (indefinite plural birthe, definite singular birthi, definite plural birthat)

  1. pimple, blemish
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Diminutive -th lengthening of bir (son).

Noun[edit]

birth m (indefinite plural birthe, definite singular birthi, definite plural birthat)

  1. son, little boy