Paternal vs Maternal: Difference and Comparison

Well, in quite many joint families and relative get-togethers. We all have had experienced conversations involving the terms ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ or their synonyms at some point.

The fact that these terms have been used since the 17th century signifies that in the world of colloquial English, relating relatives with either your father’s or your mother’s side has cleared many confusions.

Although these two words are commonly used, they make no sense. These are used before any title or relationship, as in; paternal grandmother or maternal aunt.

Their meanings affect the general relation between the subject and the third person. So, this article will help you understand both the terms and their meanings along with the differences both possess.

Key Takeaways

  1. Paternal refers to the father or the father’s side of the family.
  2. Maternal refers to the mother or the mother’s side of the family.
  3. These terms describe genetic traits, family relationships, and medical history.

Paternal vs Maternal

Paternal is a scientific term that signifies relation to the biological dad or relations from the father’s side of a family, and it is derived from the Latin word pater. Maternal is a scientific term that shows relation to the biological mom, and it is derived from the Latin word Mater.

Paternal vs Maternal

The word paternal means relating to the biological father. The simple meaning helps in deriving a detailed family tree and is used in determining cousins and relatives.

A person is considered to have acquired paternal wealth or assets if he inherits money or goods from his father. People recollect spending meaningful time at the paternal farm as a youngster, and so on.

The word ‘paternal’ is not always used to describe the hierarchical relationship. But even it is frequently used as an adjective to signify fatherly love and parental attraction towards their children.

For instance, ‘he is so paternal towards his daughters that it warms my heart.’ Maternal is simply vice versa; it relates to the mother and anything corresponding to her.

The term “maternal” is derived from the Latin word “mater.” As previously stated, the ending will denote “making reference to.” As a result, the phrase means “relating to a mother.”

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In medical analogy, this refers to a phase when women can give birth to a child. The age can range from 2o to 35 and is considered a woman’s maternal phase.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPaternalMaternal
MeaningThe word paternal means relating to the biological father.The word means “relating to a mother.”
Etymologylate Middle English: from late Latin paternalis, from Latin paternus ‘fatherly, belonging to a father’, from pater ‘father.’Maternal is derived from the Latin word ‘maternus’, which means “of a mother.” Many features are classified as maternal, including physical attributes handed down from the mother.
SynonymsFatherlike, patrilineal, patrimonial, protective, etc. Womanly, matronly, nurturing, matriarchal, etc.
Examples1. Aunt Julie is my paternal aunt.
2. Sammy is a good father with tons of paternal love towards his sons.
3. Suresh got back his fortune by selling his paternal properties.
1. My maternal grandmother really loves me a lot.
2. The maternal qualities of Julie helped her raise those two jewels.

What is Paternal?

Paternal qualities are defined as “of or related to a father; nurturing; reflecting the disposition of a father. Guiding or educating as a parent; as, paternal care” by Webster Dictionary.

Paternal is a term with many different connotations, but they all have something familiar: they all refer to the dad. The term means “fatherly” in the same way that “maternal” means “motherly.”

It refers to all things or characteristics, some of which are regarded as fatherly. Our paternal and maternal are simple to understand. It’s crucial to understand the additional meanings of “paternal.”

Once we realize that our father’s father is our paternal grandfather while our maternal grandma is our mother’s grandmother’s mother. You’ve mastered the main concept.

Connections, bonds, and relationships can also be related to the adjective ‘paternal.’ There are indeed parental biological ties to consider, however, paternal and maternal related terms.

Sometimes used to describe the magnitude of care and love between a parent and a child. The link between a kid and his father is referred to as paternal attachment.

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There’s even a phrase for signifying paternal aspects in terms of biology: “paternal chromosomes.” The paternal chromosomes are inherited from the father, whilst the maternal chromosomes are.

Inherited from the mom, paternal chromosomes can be called heterogametic. And it indeed is another distinction.

This means that the paternal genome has the ability to create both X as well as Y chromosomes.

father and son e1685505870764

What is Maternal?

The term “Maternal” is derived from the Latin parent word “mater,” which implies the meaning “mother.” As previously stated, the suffix would denote “corresponding to.”

As a result, the phrase means “relating to a mother.” With this in mind, it’s clear that one of the distinctions between the two phrases is gender.

Paternal being male origin whereas maternal being female origin) in question. Maternal connections may also allude to a child’s relationship with his or her mother.

The maternal genomes are homogametic, which indicates that only the X chromosomes are present on the maternal chromosomal material.

Maternal is an expression that refers to anything and everything related to a woman or, specifically, a ‘mother’. This is also a one-of-a-kind sensation accompanied by heartfelt sentiments.

When a woman first comes into physical touch with her infant, she is overcome with maternal sentiments for the child. Maternal inheritance refers to what a guy gets from his mother.

Whether it’s physical characteristics or possessions, it is known as maternal tongue when the dialect spoken on the mother’s side differs from such an expression on the father’s side.


Main Differences Between Paternal and Maternal

  1. A father or anything related to him is referred to as “paternal,” whereas a mother is referred to as “maternal.”
  2. Paternal chromosomes are heterogametic, whereas maternal chromosomes are homogametic.
  3. The paternal term is used as an adjective to describe fatherly love, whereas the maternal term is used both as an adjective and a noun describing a woman’s age range to become a mother.
  4. Paternal terminology relates to the masculine bloodline, whereas maternal terminology traces the feminine hierarchy.
  5. Synonyms of paternal are Father-like, patrilineal, and patrimonial, whereas synonyms of maternal are Womanly, matronly, nurturing, matriarchal, etc.
Difference Between Paternal and Maternal

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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11 thoughts on “Paternal vs Maternal: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The discussion on the inheritance and significance of ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ wealth and assets provides a comprehensive view of their implications.

  2. The maternal phase and references to ‘maternal’ qualities evoke a profound understanding of the term’s implications in different contexts.

  3. It is interesting to note that these terms have been used for such a long time and still hold significance in the English language today.

  4. The use of ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ in various contexts, including biological, medical, and emotional, is truly fascinating.

  5. The comprehensive explanation of the etymology and meanings of ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ is truly insightful and thought-provoking.

  6. The explanation of ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ as scientific terms and their associations with specific genetic characteristics adds depth to their meanings.

  7. The connections between ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ and their biological implications, including chromosomal inheritance, are enlightening.


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