Share this entry

parent Syllabification: par·ent
Pronunciation: /ˈperənt/

Definition of parent in English:


1A 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, progenitor;
adoptive parent, foster-parent, step-parent, guardian
literary begetter
1.1 archaic A forefather or ancestor.
1.2An animal or plant from which younger ones are derived.
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.
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.
1.4 [often as modifier] An organization or company that owns or controls a number of subsidiary organizations or companies: policy considerations were determined largely by the parent institution
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) Back to top  
Be or act as a mother or father to (someone): the warmth and attention that are the hallmarks of good parenting
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.
raise, bring up, look after, take care of, rear;


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



Pronunciation: /pəˈrentl/
Example sentences
  • Far from enforcing a sense of parental responsibility, the blunt use of the law in this way does the opposite.
  • What this does, however, is to take parental decision-making clean out of the picture.
  • In most cases peer pressure and lack of parental attention lead to these addictions.


Pronunciation: /pəˈrentl-ē/
Example sentences
  • It's a better bet that the sisters' less-than-stellar performances in their face-to-face competitions result from their reluctance to throttle each other rather than a parentally hatched plan to fix the outcomes of their matches.
  • Police, North Yorkshire education social work service and Hambleton Community Safety Partnership are working together to crack down on truanting pupils and parentally condoned absence from school.
  • In 1972, for the usual teen reasons, I scorned my parentally approved room and set up a base camp in a narrow basement corridor that led to the downstairs bathroom and a storage closet.


Pronunciation: /ˈperən(t)ləs/
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.

Words that rhyme with parent


Definition of parent in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwäˈfər
a hairdresser