[muh-tur-ni-tee] /məˈtɜr nɪ ti/
the state of being a mother; motherhood.
motherly quality; motherliness.
a section of a hospital devoted to the care of women at childbirth and of their newborn infants.
of, relating to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child.
for mothers during and after childbirth or for the care of their newborn babies:
a maternity hospital.
for wear by pregnant women:
the characteristics associated with motherhood; motherliness
(modifier) relating to pregnant women or women at the time of childbirth: a maternity ward
1610s, “quality or condition of being a mother,” from French maternité “motherhood” (15c.), from Medieval Latin maternitatem (nominative maternitas) “motherhood,” from Latin maternus (see maternal). Used from 1893 as a quasi-adjective in reference to garments designed for pregnant women.
maternity ma·ter·ni·ty (mə-tûr’nĭ-tē)
Relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or the first months of motherhood.
- Maternity benefit
noun 1. (in the British National Insurance scheme) a payment (maternity allowance) made to a pregnant woman who usually works but does not qualify for statutory maternity pay, normally from 11 weeks before confinement for a period of 18 weeks; there is also a flat-rate benefit (maternity grant) for those on low incomes
- Maternity ward
maternity ward n. The department of a hospital that provides care for women during pregnancy and childbirth as well as for newborn infants.
noun 1. a leave of absence for an expectant or new mother for the birth and care of the baby. noun 1. a period of paid absence from work, in Britain currently six months, to which a woman is legally entitled during the months immediately before and after childbirth
verb to act as a mother, to have motherly qualities Word Origin maternal + -ize