Definition of midwife in English:


Line breaks: mid|wife
Pronunciation: /ˈmɪdwʌɪf

noun (plural midwives /-wʌɪvz/)

  • 1A nurse (typically a woman) who is trained to assist women in childbirth.
    More 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.


[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.



Pronunciation: /-ˈwɪf(ə)ri/
More 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.


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 definitions of midwife

Definition of midwife in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little