Definition of parent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɛːr(ə)nt/


1A person’s father or mother: the parents of the bride his adoptive parents
More example sentences
  • The alternative is a private arrangement with the birth mother and the adoptive parents.
  • The lottery is a metaphor for what can happen to any parent, mother or father, and their children, at the hands of the secret family courts.
  • My Dad's parents were actually his mother and step-father, and so my Nan had a different surname to me.
mother, father;
birth/biological parent, adoptive mother/father, surrogate mother, foster-parent, foster-mother, foster-father, step-parent, stepmother, stepfather, guardian;
single parent, lone parent, co-parent
informal one's old man, one's old woman, one's old lady
rare begetter, procreator, progenitor, progenitress, progenitrix, genitor, pater
(parents) informalrents
1.1 archaic A forefather or ancestor: God’s hand had written in the hearts of our first parents all the rules of good
1.2An animal or plant from which new ones are derived: stems will root down, creating a new crown near the parent
More example sentences
  • By tissue culture methods, these can then be used for the regeneration of another plant like the parent.
  • The three propagation methods above will produce a new lily plant identical to the parent.
  • For an animal parent to neglect its own offspring would therefore be for it to behave contrary to its nature.
1.3A source or origin of a smaller or less important part: [as modifier]: some of the whetstones have been transported up to 400 km from the parent rock
More example sentences
  • Metamorphic rock names may reflect any or all of the following: the nature of the parent rock; the grade of metamorphism and the minerals present; the texture of the rock.
  • To begin with, heat must be injected into the parent rock material in order for partial melting to occur.
source, origin, genesis, originator, root, fountain, cause, author, architect;
precursor, forerunner, predecessor, antecedent, forebear, ancestor
literary wellspring
rare radix
1.4 [often as modifier] An organization or company which owns or controls a number of subsidiaries: policy considerations were determined largely by the parent company
More example sentences
  • The management contract is held by the main provider itself and not by a parent organization that controls the main provider and the provider-based entity.
  • Domestic laws are patchy and unevenly applied in poor countries, and TNCs can avoid prosecution by exploiting the legal separation between parent companies and their subsidiaries.
  • Company Reports are available for both parent companies and subsidiary companies.


[with object] (often as noun parenting)
Be or act as a mother or father to (someone): exhaustion is incompatible with good parenting all children are special to those who parent them [no object]: we are losing our intuitive ability to parent
More example sentences
  • Liz is used to working with groups of parents who ask for support with parenting their teenagers.
  • Heck, some parents even took in their child's partner with open arms and parented both children.
  • Anyone who has ever parented small children knows how difficult it is to get them to eat something they would prefer not to eat.
bring up, be the parent of, look after, take care of, rear, raise, nurture



Pronunciation: /ˈpɛːr(ə)ntləs/
Example sentences
  • In rare flashes of vulnerability, Ridley said she feels pain every time she sees a child left parentless from a killing.
  • You report how overly punitive drug laws are responsible for leaving many children parentless.
  • Unfortunately, a mysterious gust of wind blows the last egg several pages away, leaving the duckling to hatch into a parentless world.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin parent- 'bringing forth', from the verb parere. The verb dates from the mid 17th century.

  • viper from early 16th century:

    Some vipers give birth to live young which have hatched from eggs within the parent's body, whereas the eggs of most snakes are laid before they hatch. The name viper derives from the fact they are viviparous (‘producing live young’ M17th), coming from Latin vivus ‘alive’, as in vivisection (early 18th century), and parere ‘to bring forth’, the source of parent (Late Middle English). The phrase a viper in your bosom, ‘a person you have helped but who has behaved treacherously towards you’, comes from one of Aesop's fables in which a viper reared close to a person's chest eventually bites its nurturer. See also adder, snake

Words that rhyme with parent


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: par¦ent

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