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1. Relating to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood; motherly: maternal instinct.
2. Inherited from one's mother: a maternal trait.
3. Related through one's mother: my maternal uncle.

[Middle English, from Old French maternel, from Medieval Latin māternālis, from Latin māternus, from māter, mother; see māter- in Indo-European roots.]

ma·ter′nal·ism n.
ma·ter′nal·ly adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.maternalism - the quality of having or showing the tenderness and warmth and affection of or befitting a mothermaternalism - the quality of having or showing the tenderness and warmth and affection of or befitting a mother; "the girl's motherliness made her invaluable in caring for the children"
parental quality - a quality appropriate to a parent
2.maternalism - motherly care; behavior characteristic of a mother; the practice of acting as a mother does toward her children
care, tending, attention, aid - the work of providing treatment for or attending to someone or something; "no medical care was required"; "the old car needs constant attention"
References in periodicals archive ?
At the same time, the international women's peace movement is shown to have promoted a powerful claim to a universal maternalism that demanded protection for all sons.
Sue had an air of authority mixed with a hint of maternalism.
And, while paternalism or maternalism might not be appropriate between, say, national groups, it might be appropriate with respect to children.
For instance, having Manubehn, who was his constant companion and devoted nurse, sleeping next to him could be regarded as natural maternalism since on her deathbed Kasturba had asked him to be mother and father to the girl.
Numerous examples of exploitation in the dressmaking and millinery trades quickly persuaded me that unadulterated maternalism rarely guided workroom management.
The maternalism of the NWRO was oppositional in this context because it demanded that poor women, regardless of race, be allowed to perform motherwork, even if that meant providing them with an adequate income in lieu of a breadwinner's wage and dependence on a man.
The most benign expressions of tenderness betray an almost ravenous impulse to gorge on the object of our affections, a fact that suggests that we adore our pets, not as separate beings, but as slavish dependents, imbecilic chattel whose cuteness stems from their helplessness and servility, their inability to fend for themselves and escape our cloying and ultimately predatory maternalism.
Touched by an Angel" chronicles the interventions of three angels: one beautiful young female, Monica, played by Romy Downey, an apprentice angel; she reports to Tess, played with savvy maternalism by 60-something Della Reese; they are accompanied by a benign young male angel of death, Andrew, played by the eponymous John Dye.
The problem is that while it's good for her, she might find her fanatical maternalism suffocates little AJ and turns him into a 24-carat Mummy's Boy.
Maternalism or political correctness leads government to doubt itself.
Though Euphemia approves of this woman's maternalism toward her slaves(14) and seems aware of the insufficiency of giving a slave freedom without providing some financial support, there are other moments when she seems to be as blind as everyone else around her to the viciousness of the world slavery created.
The perverse and destructive maternalism of the Skriker - a Jungian "terrible mother" if ever there was one - seems attractive as the girls themselves begin their predictable cycle of social pathology.

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