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midwife

Line breaks: mid|wife
Pronunciation: /ˈmɪdwʌɪf
 
/

Definition of midwife in English:

noun (plural midwives /-wʌɪvz/)

1A person, typically a woman, who is trained to assist women in childbirth.
Example sentences
  • Again, close liaison between obstetrician, midwife, general practitioner, cardiologist, and neonatologist is vital.
  • Once the bleeding has been evaluated its management may remain with general practitioners or midwives.
  • It goes without saying that no visit with the local midwife or the general practitioner was offered before the 15th week.
1.1A person who helps to create or develop something: he survived to be one of the midwives of the Reformation
More example sentences
  • I was privileged to be a colleague of its midwife and founding editor, Susan McHenry, now our editorial director, when she was formulating ideas for it.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Assist (a woman) during childbirth: these women midwifed her
1.1Help to bring about: Gruber midwifed the deal
More example sentences
  • In Afghanistan, the U.N. midwifed a political process that gave birth to an interim Afghan government, whose ministers began their work with desks, stationery and telephones provided by the U. N.
  • Every significant new publishing phenomenon has been midwifed by a great leap forward in printing technology.

Origin

Middle English: probably from the obsolete preposition mid 'with' + wife (in the archaic sense 'woman'), expressing the sense 'a woman who is with (the mother').

More
  • The original sense of midwife seems to have been ‘a woman who is with the mother’. Mid- here is not connected to middle, but is an old word meaning ‘with’ that is related to Greek meta ‘with’, which appears in English words beginning meta-, such as metabolism (late 19th century), metaphorical (mid 16th century), and metaphysics (mid 16th century). ‘A woman’ (rather than ‘a married woman’) is the oldest sense of wife, still used in Scotland.

Derivatives

midwifery

1
Pronunciation: /-ˈwɪf(ə)ri/
noun
Example sentences
  • Some practices have had vacancies for up to nine months, and similar staffing shortages in nursing and midwifery have prompted fears that rural healthcare is a thing of the past.
  • However, Thomas said police officers should be given a crash course in midwifery, as delivering babies had become a regular part of their routine.
  • During this period midwifery was all but abolished.

Words that rhyme with midwife

spaewifealewife

Definition of midwife in:

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