a. The emergence and separation of offspring from the body of the mother.
b. The act or process of bearing young; parturition: the mare's second birth.
c. The circumstances or conditions relating to this event, as its time or location: an incident that took place before my birth; a Bostonian by birth.
a. The set of characteristics or circumstances received from one's ancestors; inheritance: strong-willed by birth; acquired their wealth through birth.
b. Origin; extraction: of Swedish birth; of humble birth.
c. Noble or high status: persons of birth.
3. A beginning or commencement. See Synonyms at beginning.
tr.v. birthed, birth·ing, births
1. To deliver (a baby).
2. Chiefly Southern US To bear (a child).
[Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin; see bher-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.