maternal

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

PIE word
*méh₂tēr

The adjective is derived from Late Middle English maternal, maternall, from Middle French maternel (maternal) (modern French maternel (maternal; native)), or from its etymon Late Latin māternālis (maternal), from Latin māternus (maternal; related to the mother or her side of the family) + -ālis (suffix forming adjectives of relationship from nouns).[1][2] Māternus is derived from māter (mother) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr (mother)) + -rnus (suffix forming adjectives). The English word is cognate with Italian maternale, materno, Portuguese maternal, materno, Spanish maternal, materno.[1]

The noun is derived from the adjective.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

maternal (comparative more maternal, superlative most maternal)

  1. Of or pertaining to a mother; having the characteristics of a mother; motherly.
    Antonyms: fatherly, paternal
    His weakness seemed to bring out her maternal instincts.
    • 1650, Edward Leigh, “To the Reverend, Pious, and Learned Assembly of Divines, Convened at Westminster: And to All Such as are Studious of Knowledge in the Originall Text of the New Testament. [The Epistle Dedicatory]”, in Critica Sacra in Two Parts: The First Containing Observations on All the Radices, or Primitive Hebrevv Words of the Old Testament, in Order Alphabetical. [] The Second Philologicall and Theologicall Observations upon All the Greek Words of the New Testament, in Order Alphabetical. [], 3rd edition, London: Printed by Abraham Miller and Roger Daniel for Thomas Underhill [], OCLC 81535281:
      However, the Hebrew (I ſay) is the moſt antient and maternall Language; for Adam uſed it, and all men before the Flood, as is manifeſt from the Scripture, and Fathers.
    • 1797, [George Chalmers], “§ II. Queen Elizabeth; and Her Letter”, in An Apology for the Believers in the Shakespeare-papers, which were Exhibited in Norfolk-Street, London: Printed for Thomas Egerton, [], OCLC 1001013750, pages 106–107:
      If a dictionary be a ſelection, rather than a collection, of the words in our maternall Englyſhe; a dictionary cannot afford a deciſive proof of the non-exiſtence of a word, in ſome other book, which the lexicographer may have never read.
    • 1799 April 15, “P. M.”, “[Untitled letter to the editor]”, in Sylvanus Urban [pseudonym; Edward Cave], editor, The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, volume LXIX, part I, number IV, London: Printed by John Nichols, []; [a]nd sold by Elizabeth Newbery, [], published April 1799, OCLC 192374019, page 267:
      The little blooming foundling was ſoon ordered to be produced before her, which brought the ſympathy of the mother to her eye, and to her heart. The infant had once, at leaſt, a maternal embrace; [...]. With a truly maternal care the child was placed with wife of one of the domeſticks of the Princeſs, provided with plain neceſſaries, and watched with the eye of humanity and tenderneſs.
    • 1816 July, Hamilton Sydney Beresford, “Mahomet”, in Cambridge Prize Poems: Being a Complete Collection of the English Poems which have Obtained the Chancellor’s Gold Medal in the University of Cambridge, London: Printed for T. and J. Allman, []; and sold by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, []; J. Deighton and Sons, []; and J. Parker, [], published 1818, OCLC 1113631090, lines 79–82, page 81:
      Thus lonely left, no soft maternal breast / His murmurs soothed, or cradled him to rest; / Moist with delight, no maternal eye / Watched his weak limbs their early efforts try, [...]
    • 1972, Elaine Noirot, “The Onset of Maternal Behavior in Rats, Hamsters, and Mice: A Selective Review”, in Daniel S. Lehrman, Robert A[ubrey] Hinde, and Evelyn Shaw, editors, Advances in the Study of Behavior, volume 4, New York, N.Y.; London: Academic Press, →ISBN, section II (Sensitization or Priming), page 108:
      Naïve parturient females [i.e., those that have never encountered young animals except for their own litter-mates], unlike most other naïve animals, display immediate maternal behavior as soon as they give birth, except for some rare infanticidal or indifferent mothers. [] This difference between the behavior of naïve mothers and naïve animals other than mothers suggests that gestation and parturition favor a very rapid establishment of maternal behavior.
    • 1992, Barbara Luke, “Influence of Maternal Smoking on the Course and Outcome of Pregnancy”, in Louis Keith, editor, Principles and Practice of Maternal Nutrition, Carnforth, Lancashire; Park Ridge, N.J.: Parthenon Publishing Group, →ISBN, page 65:
      Maternal smoking during pregnancy is one of the modifiable environmental factors that adversely affects the unborn child. [...] Many studies support the view that maternal smoking retards fetal growth: infants of smokers tend to be 150–325 g lighter at birth than those born to non-smokers.
    • 1998, C. Horlow; C. Raquin, “A Critical Analysis of Existing Haploidization Techniques”, in Y[ves] Chupeau, M[ichel] Caboche, and Y[ves] Henry, editors, Androgenesis and Haploid Plants: [] In Memory of Jean-Pierre Bourgin, Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, →ISBN, page 14:
      In potato, crosses between the tetraploid cultivated species Solanum tuberosum, and some clones of the diploid wild-type species S. phureja, constitute a method of producing maternal dihaploids.
    • 2004, Daphne de Marneffe, “The ‘Problem’ of Maternal Desire”, in Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life, New York, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, →ISBN:
      Maternal desire is at once obvious and invisible partly because it is so easily confused with other things. Those fighting for women's progress too often misconstrue it as a throwback or excuse, a self-curtailment of potential. Those who champion women's maternal role too often define it narrowly in the context of service—to one's child, husband, or God.
  2. Related through the mother, or her side of the family.
    Antonym: paternal
    Toby is my maternal uncle.
    • 1808 April, “Biography. Sketch of Rev. Dr. MacWhorter.”, in The Panoplist; or, The Christian’s Armory, volume III, number 11 (number 35 overall), Boston, Mass.: Printed by Lincoln & Edmands, []; [s]old by Caleb Bingham, [], OCLC 1013324617, page 481, column 1:
      Doctor [Alexander] MacWhorter was of Scotch extraction. His maternal ancestors were among the first emigrants from Scotland to the North of Ireland; and the family of his father removed to the same country about the time of his father's birth.
    • 1895, Frederick Pollock; Frederic William Maitland, “Inheritance”, in The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I, volume II, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: At the University Press; Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, & Company, OCLC 78010698, § 1 (Antiquities), page 239:
      It was so in the England of Alfred's day; the maternal kinsfolk paid a third of the wer [i.e., the wergeld]. The Leges Henrici, which about such a matter will not be inventing new rules, tell us that the paternal kinsfolk pay and receive two-thirds, the maternal kinsfolk one-third of the wer; and this is borne out by other evidence.
    • 1985, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, “The Name ‘Remade’”, in Lydia Cochrane, transl., Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy, paperback edition, Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, published 1987, →ISBN, page 298:
      While the attribution to the elder children of the given names of paternal grandparents was generally respected, alternation between paternal and maternal lines was not the rule. The father is more apt to have recourse to relatively distant paternal kin or to his own maternal kin than to his own affines. The paternal given names easily supplant the maternal ones.
  3. (anatomy, medicine) Derived from the mother as opposed to the foetus during pregnancy.
    Antonyms: fetal, foetal
    • 1831 November 17, Robert Lee, “III. On the Structure of the Human Placenta, and Its Connexion with the Uterus.”, in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, part I, London: Printed by Richard Taylor [], published 1832, OCLC 759427994, pages 63:
      The facts which have now been stated warrant, I think, the conclusion, that the human placenta does not consist of two parts, maternal and fœtal, that no cells exist in its substance, and that there is no communication between the uterus and the placenta by large arteries and veins.
    • 1991, Barbara Abrams, “Maternal Undernutrition and Reproductive Performance”, in Frank Falkner, editor, Infant and Child Nutrition Worldwide: Issues and Perspectives, Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, →ISBN, page 33:
      Undernutrition occurs when dietary intake cannot meet nutritional requirements. The synthesis of maternal and fetal tissue or breast milk, and the associated costs of maternal maintenance increase nutrient requirements during pregnancy and lactation.
    • 2009, Ronald J. Wapner; Thomas M. Jenkins; Nahla Khalek, “Prenatal Diagnosis of Congenital Disorders”, in Robert K. Creasy, Robert Resnick, Jay D. Iams, Charles J. Lockwood, and Thomas R. Moore, editors, Creasy and Resnicks Maternal–Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice, 6th edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier, →ISBN, pages 253–254:
      Chorionic villus samples typically contain a mixture of placental villi and maternally derived decidua. Although specimens are thoroughly washed and inspected under a microscope after collection, some maternal cells may remain and grow in the culture. As a result, two cell lines, one fetal and the other maternal, may be identified. In other cases, the maternal cell line may completely overgrow the culture, thereby leading to diagnostic errors, including incorrect sex determination, and potentially to false-negative diagnoses, although there are no published reports of the latter.
    • 2010, Florence L. Marlow, “Dorsal–Ventral Axis Formation before Zygotic Genome Activation in Zebrafish and Frogs”, in Daniel Kessler, editor, Maternal Control of Development in Vertebrates: My Mother Made Me Do It! (Colloquium Series in Developmental Biology), [San Rafael, Calif.]: Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences, DOI:10.4199/C00023ED1V01Y201012DEB005, →ISBN, ISSN 2155-3521, page 105:
      While the animal–vegetal axis is patterned exclusively by maternal factors, the later developing dorsal–ventral axis depends on formation of the animal–vegetal axis and requires both maternal and zygotic contributions in zebrafish and frogs.

Alternative forms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

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Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Noun[edit]

maternal (plural maternals) (rare)

  1. (dated, informal) A mother.
    • 1865 January, “‘Which is the Winner?’ By Charles Clarke, Author of ‘Charlie Thornhill’ [book review]”, in Baily’s Monthly Magazine of Sports and Pastimes, volume IX, number 59, London: A. H. Baily & Co., [], OCLC 1015473216, page 146:
      In the necessarily brief space allotted to a review in these pages it would be impossible to sketch out the story at any length. Suffice it that there are two fathers, two sons and two daughters; the maternals, for once, go for little, but there is an Aunt Philly—a conception, that starts out in the intense reality of existence.
    • 1868, Orpheus C. Kerr [pseudonym; Robert Henry Newell], “Letter III”, in Smoked Glass, New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] W. Carleton, publisher; London: S[ampson] Low, Son, & Co., OCLC 3737482, page 53:
      [...] I would especially bring to your attention the manifest propriety of discountenancing any familiarity from your mothers when in society. If obliged to go with your tiresome maternals to any social gathering, you may reclaim your freedom immediately upon entering the room by slipping abstractedly away in the direction of the piano, and from thenceforth being artlessly forgetful of all messages forwarded to you, and miraculously blind to all beckonings and elevation of fans.
    • 1868 March, “[The Editor’s Repository.] Witty and Wise.”, in I[saac] W[illiam] Wiley, editor, The Ladies’ Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted to Literature and Religion, volume XXVII, Cincinnati, Oh.: Poe & Hitchcock; [], OCLC 247142692, page 181, column 2:
      A little girl of this city, who is acknowledged by all to be pretty smart, was holding a very animated conversation with one of about her own years, a few days since. [...] After naming over various meritorious acts of which their maternals were capable, the one in question put an end to the dispute by exclaiming, "Well, there's one thing my mother can do that yours can't—my mother can take every one of her teeth out at once."
  2. A person related through the mother, or her side of the family; a maternal relative.
    • 1826 January, John Haywood, Judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court, “Jane C. Butler v. James M. King”, in George S. Yerger and William Frierson Cooper, editors, Tennessee Reports. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee, volume II, new edition, St. Louis, Mo.: G. I. Jones and Company, published 1876, OCLC 22127556, page 109:
      Divide what? The estate that came from the father to the son. Amongst whom? The paternal brothers. If it means, that paternals and maternals shall now divide, as paternals formerly did, the whole sentence operates nothing; for without, the half blood on both sides, would have taken. But say it establishes a well-known standard to divide by, and that this standard excludes the maternals, then every word, as well as this word "only," has a material effect and energy.
    • 1869, Neil B[enjamin] E[dmonstone] Baillie, “Of Inheritance by ‘Nusub’ or Consanguinity”, in A Digest of Moohummudan Law on the Subjects to which It is Usually Applied by British Courts of Justice in India. Compiled and Translated from Authorities in the Original Arabic, part 2nd (Containing the Doctrine of the Imameea Code of Jurisprudence []), London: Smith Elder and Co., [], OCLC 820921463, page 286:
      If there are both paternal and maternal uncles and aunts, the maternals take a third, even if there is only one of them, and whether male or female, and the paternals two-thirds, even though there is only one of them, and whether male or female. If the maternals are of one kind, a male has the portion of two females.

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Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

maternal (masculine and feminine plural maternals)

  1. Synonym of matern

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • Hyphenation: ma‧ter‧nal

Adjective[edit]

maternal m or f (plural maternais, comparable)

  1. maternal (of or relating to mothers)

Synonyms[edit]

Noun[edit]

maternal m (plural maternais)

  1. a school for young children

Spanish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /materˈnal/, [mat̪erˈnal]
  • Hyphenation: ma‧ter‧nal

Adjective[edit]

maternal (plural maternales)

  1. Synonym of materno

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Further reading[edit]