Maternal meaning

mə-tûr'nəl
The definition of maternal is something related to or characteristic of a mother, such as motherly instincts or relatives from a mother's side of the family.

An example of maternal is rocking a baby to sleep.

An example of maternal is your grandmother on your mother's side.

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Related through the mother's side of the family.

Maternal grandparents.

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Relating to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood; motherly.

Maternal instinct.

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Related through one's mother.

My maternal uncle.

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Inherited from one's mother.

A maternal trait.

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Related through one's mother.

My maternal uncle.

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Pertaining to one’s mother.
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Of or pertaining to a mother; having the characteristics of a mother, motherly.

His weakness seemed to bring out her maternal instincts.

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Related through the mother, or her side of the family.

Toby is my maternal uncle.

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(anatomy, medicine) Derived from the mother as opposed to the foetus during pregnancy.
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Relating to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood; motherly.

Maternal instinct.

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Inherited from one's mother.

A maternal trait.

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Of, like, or characteristic of a mother or motherhood; motherly.
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Derived, received, or inherited from a mother.
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Origin of maternal

  • Middle English from Old French maternel from Medieval Latin māternālis from Latin māternus from māter mother māter- in Indo-European roots
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Middle French maternel or post-Classical Latin māternālis (“maternal"), from māternus (“maternal"), from māter (“mother").
    From Wiktionary