Entries linking to stillbirth
Old English stille "motionless, stable, fixed, stationary," from Proto-Germanic *stilli- (source also of Old Frisian, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch stille, Dutch stil, Old High German stilli, German still), from PIE *stel-ni-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place. Meaning "quiet, calm, gentle, silent" emerged in later Old English. Euphemistic for "dead" in stillborn, etc. Still small voice is from KJV:
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. [I Kings xix.11-13]
Used as a conjunction from 1722.
c. 1200, "fact of being born;" mid-13c., "act of giving birth, a bringing forth by the mother, childbirth," sometimes in Middle English also "conception;" also "that which is born, offspring, child;" from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse *byrðr (replacing cognate Old English gebyrd "birth, descent, race; offspring; nature; fate"), from Proto-Germanic *gaburthis (source also of Old Frisian berd, Old Saxon giburd, Dutch geboorte, Old High German giburt, German geburt, Gothic gabaurþs), from PIE *bhrto past participle of root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children" (compare bear (v.)).
The Germanic suffix -th is for "process" (as in bath, death). The meaning "condition into which a person is born, lineage, descent" is attested from c. 1200 (it was also in the Old English word). In reference to non-living things, "any coming into existence" is from 1610s. Birth control is from 1914; birth certificate is from 1842.
updated on November 30, 2013
Dictionary entries near stillbirth