noun, plural na·tiv·i·ties.

  1. birth.
  2. birth with reference to place or attendant circumstances: of Irish nativity.
  3. (initial capital letter) the birth of Christ.
  4. (initial capital letter) the church festival commemorating the birth of Christ; Christmas.
  5. (initial capital letter) a representation of the birth of Christ, as in art.
  6. Astrology. a horoscope of a person’s birth.

noun plural -ties

  1. birth or origin, esp in relation to the circumstances surrounding it


  1. the birth of Jesus Christ
  2. the feast of Christmas as a commemoration of this
    1. an artistic representation of the circumstances of the birth of Christ
    2. (as modifier)a Nativity play

n.c.1200, from Old French nativité “birth” (12c.), from Late Latin nativitatem (nominative nativitas) “birth,” from Latin nativus “born, native” (see native (adj.)). Late Old English had nativiteð, from earlier Old French nativited. The birth of Jesus, described in two of the Gospels (Matthew and Luke). When Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted in a government census, they found that there was no room for them in the local inn. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a common stable and laid him in a manger (a feeding trough for livestock). Christians (see also Christian) believe that Jesus’ birth fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies and was attended by miraculous events, such as a star above Bethlehem that drew local shepherds as well as the Wise Men, or Magi, from a distant land.

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