1. a father or a mother.
  2. an ancestor, precursor, or progenitor.
  3. a source, origin, or cause.
  4. a protector or guardian.
  5. Biology. any organism that produces or generates another.
  6. Physics. the first nuclide in a radioactive series.


  1. being the original source: a parent organization.
  2. Biology. pertaining to an organism, cell, or complex molecular structure that generates or produces another: parent cell; parent DNA.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be or act as parent of: to parent children with both love and discipline.


  1. a father or mother
  2. a person acting as a father or mother; guardian
  3. rare an ancestor
  4. a source or cause
    1. an organism or organization that has produced one or more organisms or organizations similar to itself
    2. (as modifier)a parent organism
  5. physics chem
    1. a precursor, such as a nucleus or compound, of a derived entity
    2. (as modifier)a parent nucleus; a parent ion

n.early 15c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French parent “father, parent, relative, kin” (11c.), from Latin parentem (nominative parens) “father or mother, ancestor,” noun use of present participle of parere “bring forth, give birth to, produce,” from PIE root *pere- “to bring forth” (see pare). Began to replace native elder after c.1500. v.1660s, from parent (n.). Related: Parented; parenting. n.

  1. One who begets, gives birth to, or nurtures and raises a child; a father or mother.
  2. An ancestor; a progenitor.
  3. An organism that produces or generates offspring.


  1. To act as a parent to; to rear and nurture.
  2. To cause to come into existence; to serve as a source for; originate.

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