Difference Between Paternal and Maternal (With Table)

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, the significance of relating relatives with either your father’s side or your mother’s side has cleared many confusions.

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

Paternal vs Maternal

The difference between paternal and maternal is that “Paternal” is derived from the Latin term “pater,” meaning “father.” The suffix “al” would thus denote “related to.” As a result, the phrase simply means “relating to a dad/father.” Similarly the term “maternal,” would be the inverse. The term “mother” is derived from the Latin word “mater.” As previously stated, the suffix should denote “corresponding to.” As a result, the phrase simply means “relating to a mother.”

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

Not always the word ‘paternal’ is 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 the vice versa and it relates to 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 simply means “relating to a mother.” 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 as the maternal phase for a woman.

Comparison Table Between Paternal and Maternal

Parameters of ComparisonPaternalMaternal
MeaningThe word paternal means relating to the biological father.The word simply 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 as from 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 that has a lot of 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 fatherly. Our paternal and maternal relations are simple to understand once we realize that our father’s father is our paternal grandfather while our maternal grandma is our mother’s grandmother’s mother.

It’s crucial to understand the additional meanings of “paternal” once you’ve mastered the main concept. Connections, bonds, and relationships can also be related with the adjective ‘paternal.’ There are indeed biological parental ties to consider however, paternal and maternal related terms are sometimes used to describe the magnitude of care and love amongst a parent and a child. The link between a kid and his father is referred to as paternal attachments.

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.

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 simply means “relating to a mother.” With this in mind, it’s clear that one of the distinctions between the two phrases is the 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 that has to do with a woman or specifically a ‘mother’. This is also a one-of-a-kind sensation accompanied by heartfelt sentiments for the infant. 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 as well as a noun describing the age range of a woman to become a mother.
  4. Paternal terminology relates to the masculine bloodline whereas maternal terminology traces feminine hierarchy.
  5. Synonyms of paternal are Father-like, patrilineal, patrimonial whereas synonyms of maternal are Womanly, matronly, nurturing, matriarchal, etc.


Maternal relations refer to the mother’s parents and siblings. Paternal grandparents are really the parents and siblings of the dad. This is the distinction between maternal and paternal friends and family.

When a child resembles his father, he is said to have acquired paternal characteristics. While maternal may also refer to a woman’s feelings of paternity after giving birth to a child. Both the words can be used as logical as well as emotional ways of language according to the requirements. These terms can be used as both a noun and an adjective.


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/maternal
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03004430.2013.773510
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