Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English midwif, corresponding to mid (with) + wif (woman, wife, female). It appears not to be entirely clear whether the original understanding was “with-woman” in the sense of “attending/assisting woman”, or “they who are with the woman” (namely the mother).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪd.waɪf/
  • (file)


midwife (plural midwives)

  1. A person, usually a woman, who is trained to assist women in childbirth, but who is not a physician.
    A hundred years ago, a midwife would bring the baby into the world - going to a hospital to deliver a baby was either impossible or unheard of.
  2. (rare, figuratively) Someone who assists in bringing about some result or project.

Usage notesEdit

  • The term is applicable to both males and females. Despite this, the term midhusband is also sometimes used (usually in nonserious contexts).


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midwife (third-person singular simple present midwifes, present participle midwifing, simple past and past participle midwifed)

  1. (transitive) To act as a midwife.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To facilitate the emergence of.
    • Thomas L. Friedman. "Attention: Baby on Board." New York Times. April 13, 2010.
      But the bigger objective was to help Iraqis midwife a democratic model that could inspire reform across the Arab-Muslim world and give the youth there a chance at a better future.

Usage notesEdit

  • The earliest forms of the verb used v in place of f (see to midwive); however, forms with f (to midwife) are now just as common if not more commonly seen.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See alsoEdit