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Alternative forms[edit]


First attested 1597, from English still +‎ born


stillborn ‎(not comparable)

  1. Dead at birth.
    • 1768, Horace Walpole, "Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III,"
      Queen Anne, before Elizabeth, bore a still-born son.
    • 1978, Holy Bible (New International Version), Job 3:16,
      Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?
  2. (figuratively, by extension) Ignored, without influence, or unsuccessful from the outset; abortive.
    • 1859, Charles Reade, Love Me Little, Love Me Long, ch. 11,
      This, gentlemen, is a list of the joint-stock companies created last year. . . . Of these some were stillborn, but the majority hold the market.
    • 1915, William MacLeod Raine, The Highgrader, ch. 18,
      His lips framed themselves to whistle the first bars of a popular song, but the sound died stillborn.



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stillborn ‎(plural stillborns)

  1. A baby that is born dead.