Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

birth - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     birth pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the occasion of a baby being born

    We are happy to announce the birth of our son Andrew.

    John wanted to be present at the birth.

    from/since birth:

    James has been blind from birth.

    at birth (=at the time when you are born):

    children who have medical complications at birth

    place of birth:

    Place of birth: Oxford

    1. a.
      [countable/uncountable] the process of being born or of giving birth to a baby

      It was a very difficult birth.

    See also date of birth
  2. 2
    [uncountable] your status or position in society according to your family or the place where you were born

    a woman of noble birth

    Why should an accident of birth (=being born rich, poor etc) determine what opportunities you have?

    by birth:

    She’s a French national by birth.

  3. 3
    [singular] the beginning of something such as an idea, institution, or nation
    birth of:

    the birth of a new era in British politics



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play