Is there any one word for the act of being born?

The closest things I could think of are:

  • I was born
  • I come to life
  • She is giving birth to me

I'm interested in knowing if there is one word to describe this; something similar to "I die."

(In Norwegian, we can use the word fødes).


I am creating a computer program, where I have several "mortal entities." These entities, amongst other methods, have a method named Die(), which defines everything that they do as they die. I would also like to create another method for what they do as they "bore."

  • 1
    I think you are looking for an active construction for being born. From the perspective of the mother, that would be "birthing": She birthed a 9-pound baby boy. From the standpoint of the infant, you'd probably have to go with "emerge": *She emerged at 10:15 EST."
    – Robusto
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:04
  • Thanks, @Robusto - Although "emerge" isn't exactly what I was looking for, it could probably work in the context I am working with (defining an entity in a computer program).
    – leifericf
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:45
  • 1
    What does fødes mean exactly and etymologically? Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:53
  • 2
    Isn't this typically called a constructor?
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:27
  • 2
    In French, the verb 'naître' corresponds to the English 'be born'; English does not have a corresponding single-word verb. Be born may be considered as a multi-word verb rather than a passive structure. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 21:36

8 Answers 8


Yes, there is such a word. It is arrive.


(of a baby) be born: he will feel jealous when a new baby arrives.


You can consider using the word materialize (which probably can provoke laughter and provide amusement). "... and I materialized nine months later."


intr to become fact; actually happen ⇒ our hopes never materialized

to invest or become invested with a physical shape or form

to cause (a spirit, as of a dead person) to appear in material form or (of a spirit) to appear in such form

intr to take shape; become tangible ⇒ after hours of discussion, the project finally began to materialize

(physics) to form (material particles) from energy, as in pair production

  • Thanks! I think "arrive" will fit the bill, at least for now :)
    – leifericf
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:14
  • @Leif You are welcome. Glad that it helps :) Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:26
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    I don't know about arrive; for example, pop out is just as good or better! Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:39
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    @jwpat7: Two of my four children arrived in the conventional sense; of the other two, one was pulled out (with forceps), and the other quite literally popped out (caught by an attendant halfway between the birthing table and the ceramic floor). Good thing that attendant had good hands!
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 22:42

Seems to me there are two problems here. One is the syntactic behavior of the semi-deponent verb bear, bore, born(e), which is detailed below, and the other is how to structure the methods for your game.

Though the problem may change when it is realized that

  1. Being mortal simply means having a Die() method. Anything that can die is mortal. Nothing said about birth.
  2. Immortal beings can have births; gods and angels and demons can be created (or pulled out of a hat, for that matter -- this is mythology and anything coherent with the story works). Thus, any method for creating rather than ending life is going to have a lot of variable context-sensitive triggers; for instance, Create(MortalBeing-217) has got to be different from Create(Being-217), if only in terms of methods inherited.
  3. Die(Mortal-217) is couched in terms of an intransitive verb die with a subject argument Mortal-217. But it's an active (though not volitional) verb, and, as I explain below, there just isn't an active verb for being born in English. So you can't match it.
    Instead of trying to match it, however, I'd just change the method name from an active inchoative (change-of-state) verb like die to a stative resultative derived adjective like dead -- which is equally true, after all -- and that matches neatly with the stative resultative derived adjective born. I.e, Born() and Dead() both work.

As for the semi-deponency of bear, all that means is that its active use in the sense of birthing is pretty much limited to archaic bitransitive constructions like She bore him ten children.

Aside from the general use of bear to mean simply carry -- rather than specifically to mean carry (a baby) to term, as here -- the verb occurs almost exclusively in passive form, and in nouns and adjectives formed from the same verb root, like birth and born.

Normally we say that the mother gives birth (to X); we don't usually say she bears X, and that can only refer to the moment of birth if it is used. There's very little use of bore X in the past tense to refer to the birth; X was born is the idiom.

If bear is used, it's much more likely to mean be (still) pregnant than it is to mean give birth, because of the link to carry, which is not inchoative.

Normally we say the child is born, which can be thought of as a passive form (if you like the idea of using a semi-deponent bear), or as an inchoative predicate adjective, like done or finished. There's no difference in form, nor any usages that could distinguish one analysis from another.

In any event, be born always needs an auxiliary be to carry the tense, which is normally past tense -- X was born in 19XY is the usual way to say it; why involve one's mother, after all?

And that means that English manages to get along perfectly fine without having neatly matching bookend verbs, by simply avoiding the active use of bear. This is the way things work in language -- all grammar is the result of sloppy workarounds like this; the ones that actually work get preserved as grammar rules.

  • 2
    Bearing children is “archaic”?
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 21:25
  • 8
    Yes; bears are kept well away from children nowadays. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 21:29
  • @tchrist: Yes, it is; it's been going on for quite a long time. Longer than English, anyway. As for bearing children, as I said, there are any number of fixed phrases like child-bearing years that use verb forms; but no, I've never heard any woman say that she bore an infant, nor any man referring to his wife bearing children, except in consciously archaic language play. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 0:05

One word for the act of being born is parturition. From the AHD: par·tu·ri·tion; n., The act or process of giving birth; childbirth. [Late Latin . . . to be in labor. See PARTURIENT.]

  • 1
    I think OP is asking for "The act of being born", parturition is the act of giving birth. Same as birthed actually.
    – ffledgling
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:33
  • Yes, it's a good answer (because I just learned a new word from it), but I'm not sure if parturition is the word I was looking for.
    – leifericf
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:47
  • This is the formal word for delivery, a word that is strangely absent from a 5yo question about birthing, so +1 I guess.
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 22:42

I asked the same question with roughly the same background here (without knowing about this one), and the word I went with eventually was "nasce", from the noun "nascence". "Nasce" is Italian and "nascence" is English, and that was good enough for my program. "Fall" (usually applied to lambs) and "arrive" are more correct but weren't specific enough for me. "Hatch" could also be an option but in my case that was too specific.

  • +1, it's a pity that nascence is noun-only in English. Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 10:25
  • Thanks for introducing us with the word "nasce". I'd like to know what are the past and past participle forms of "nasce"? How to use them in case of past and past participle forms? Please explain. Commented May 15, 2023 at 17:41

A small addition as you've been answered in the main:

In the context of a computer program or game, it is common to refer to newly born entities as being 'spawned', which has the added bonus of being synonymous with your original question.


what about:

  • Those are good suggestions, but I don't feel like they work in the context I am working with (added some more explanation to my question).
    – leifericf
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:10

The legal term issue can mean "to be born" (Random House Dictionary, definition 29), but it definitely sounds awkward as an opposite to "to die".


The opposite of I die would simply be I live. The moment of birth would be during conception when the egg is fertilised.

  • Doesn't something have to "bore", before it can live? Technically speaking, I guess things are already living before, and during, the time which they "bore."
    – leifericf
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 19:12

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