Is there a specific English word for a woman that has not given birth yet? I don't mean a sterile woman. I mean a young woman, who is not pregnant, who hasn't got children, who hasn't given birth.

The young woman hadn't had children, but wanted them in the future. She was a typical _____.

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    If you have discarded one or more words then you should mention them in your question and explain why they do not satisfy you. Users cannot read minds. :(
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 9, 2018 at 9:13
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    Please supply a sentence where you would use this word (Must it really be a single word? Can it also be an idiom?) For example, "Pregnant and ____ women are blah blah blah...". Use a complete sentence, please.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 9, 2018 at 9:16
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    Also relevant: How to describe a person who does not want children? (The title says "person" but the question actually specifies a woman.)
    – 1006a
    Jul 9, 2018 at 13:50
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    @Gergana Could this woman ever have been pregnant at any point in her life but not given birth at all? Or does she need to never have carried a child in her womb? Jul 9, 2018 at 16:08
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    Please re-read the single-word-requests tag description, particularly the emphasised part: "YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used". Jul 9, 2018 at 16:40

3 Answers 3


nullipara TFD (condition of nulliparity)


A woman who has never given birth. Never having borne a child. Synonym(s): nonparous

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    I saw this word in the medical dictionary. I meant more conversational word. Thank you!
    – Gergana
    Jul 9, 2018 at 9:10
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    very few people will know what you are talking about if you use this word
    – WendyG
    Jul 9, 2018 at 14:35
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    "Child-free" is a politically loaded term with a strong connotation of not wanting children at all. Jul 9, 2018 at 18:36
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    @Jennifer Child-free also isn't specific to gender or age though it isn't clear from the question how important it is that the word imply you're talking about a young woman. (On the other hand, child-free also implies the person hasn't adopted either and the OP also said that the word should mean someone without any children.)
    – BSMP
    Jul 9, 2018 at 19:12
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    I would understand this word, even though I haven't seen it specifically before, because -para/-parous comes up in pregnancy. My mother is still indignant about having "elderly multipara" written on the board next to her name when she was in labor with one of my younger brothers (it's medical shorthand for "woman over 35, who has had more than one child"). Note that if you want to specify that the woman has never been pregnant at all, you would need to use nulligravida, since the -parous ending specifically counts only pregnancies which make it to viability (usually 20 weeks).
    – 1006a
    Jul 9, 2018 at 19:15

It’s not a great choice, since this isn’t the usual meaning of the word, but if the only other options are medical jargon unknown to the wider English-speaking world, it might be worth considering. (But honestly I just don’t think you should use this, or the jargon—just use a phrase to explain it.)

Anyway, there is a case for using maid or maiden in this way. To be clear, I can find no dictionary which defines it this way—and in general, barring a particular context, it would be understood as signifying that the woman is unwed and/or a virgin (as in every dictionary I could find).

Nonetheless, there is at least one circumstance in which I have heard maiden to mean specifically without children—the choice of whether the woman is a bride’s maid of honor or matron of honor.

Basically, here you have a clash between a traditional ritual, a wedding, with its associated historical assumptions, and the modern relaxation of sexual mores. These two terms reflect a historical assumption that a woman is either virginal, unwed, and without children (a maid), or else is none of those things (a matron, i.e. mother). Or, at least, an assumption that in polite company, we shouldn’t draw attention to the possibility of a woman to be some but not all of those things.

These days, in many cultures, sex before marriage is not remotely the taboo it once was. Children out of wedlock isn’t that big a deal in a lot of circles, either. Neither is necessarily shameful or something to avoid mentioning. But a bride is still supposed to have either a maid or matron of honor. Since matron means mother, labeling the bride’s sister or best friend or whatever maid of honor if she has no children and matron of honor if she does have children is a reasonable choice, and I have heard this done.

On the other hand, I have also heard maid of honor applied to married women with children (ignoring the less-known term matron of honor entirely). I have also heard matron of honor applied to women who are wed but without children (e.g. my wife in a friend’s upcoming wedding—though the term may have been chosen to differentiate her from the maid of honor, since the bride also has a maid of honor, who is unwed).

So ultimately, in this one context, maid or maiden might have the meaning you desire. But I don’t see a good way to export this meaning to other situations. The only reason it works in this context is because the artificial constraint that either maid or matron be used, and a woman without children is arguably closer to a maid than she is to a matron, maybe.



an unmarried woman, typically an older woman beyond the usual age for marriage.

Maiden is another synonym. I have heard this Enid Blytons books. Although it has a context of an older woman, but it can usually be used for young unmarried girls. My ex girlfriend's username had spinster in it.

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    Being a spinster does not preclude the possibility of having borne children. It suggests virginity but it doesn't mean it. Ahh, the answer! A virgin (woman) has never given birth. Well... only once but that was a long time ago.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 11, 2018 at 21:33
  • @Mari-LouA The opposite is also true. A woman who has not given birth is not necessarily a virgin. Indeed in almost all cases (except miracles and some cases of the use of donated sperm) a woman who is pregnant with her first child (so has never given birth) is not a virgin.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 12, 2018 at 8:21

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