1610s, "quality or condition of being a mother," from French maternité "motherhood" (15c.), from Medieval Latin maternitatem (nominative maternitas) "motherhood," from Latin māternus "of a mother," from māter "mother" (see mother (n.1)). Used from 1893 as a quasi-adjective in reference to garments designed for pregnant women. Maternity leave in reference to working women is attested by 1942.
updated on December 04, 2018
Dictionary entries near maternity