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From Old English, corresponding to mid ‎(with) + wīf ‎(woman).



midwife ‎(plural midwives)

  1. A person, usually a woman, who is trained to assist women in childbirth, but who is not a physician.
    A hundred years ago, a midwife would bring the baby into the world - going to a hospital to deliver a baby was either impossible or unheard of.
  2. (rare, figuratively) Someone who assists in bringing about some result or project.


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midwife ‎(third-person singular simple present midwives or midwifes, present participle midwiving or midwifing, simple past and past participle midwived or midwifed)

  1. (transitive) To act as a midwife
  2. (transitive, figuratively) to facilitate the emergence of
    But the bigger objective was to help Iraqis midwife a democratic model that could inspire reform across the Arab-Muslim world and give the youth there a chance at a better future.
    Thomas L. Friedman. "Attention: Baby on Board." New York Times. April 13, 2010.

Usage notes[edit]

While elementary students are taught "replace 'f' with 'v'," the mistake resulting in "midwifed" is made often enough in informal/colloquial language to indicate the rule is not consistently followed.


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