Is there a word that means “a parent who has exactly one child”?

EDIT: I am asking for purposes of creating a computing construct. But if there were an answer that is clearly correct for another domain, I’d be delighted to use it.

  • 3
    Don't think so.
    – Christi
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:11
  • a singleton? Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:13
  • 3
    monogenerative? Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:59
  • Some clarification of intended use might be due here, since this answer may be domain dependent; if such a word exists for mammalian or human parentage, it may not be an appropriate term in the domain on generic graph/tree theory. For Example, "Single-Mom" is a useful term in describing human parentage, but it is of little utility in describing mathematical tree structures.
    – Chris Bye
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:22
  • In the context of computing, unary node perhaps?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the closest is uniparous:

  1. (of certain animals) producing a single offspring at each birth
  2. (of a woman) having borne only one child
  3. botany (of a cyme) giving rise to only one branch from each flowering stem

From Parity (biology) also primipara:

a woman who has borne but one child or who is parturient for the first time.

  • Those only apply specifically to the mother. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:21
  • 2
    @Mark that is correct; I cannot think of anything better, hence "perhaps."
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 16:22
  • @Mr.Wizard, also, it's not a very commonly used word. (never heard it myself!), but +1, it's very good.
    – Bidella
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 3:37

I offer one-time:

He’s a one-time father.

The verbs “to be a mother” and “to be a father” mean to deliver a child as a parent. Even if a person is already a parent, they can still “be a parent” again:

I’m going to be a father for the second time.

Oddly, some people seem to use this to refer to labour, not count of children:

She’s a one-time mother of beautiful twin girls.

It also generalises well (and is way more commonly heard) with higher numbers:

Mary was a three-time mother, one-time grandmother, and all-around excellent woman.

  • 1
    The only problem I have with this construction is that it is often used to mean something that was in the past, but is no longer. A "one-time" mother could be a mother who has lost her child, or who for some reason no longer acts as a mother or is estranged.
    – ghoppe
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:03
  • 1
    Use of "one-time" in this way is also a rather American idiom, which may or may not matter.
    – calum_b
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:14
  • 1
    @ghoppe: Yeah, it’s problematic, but it’s the only “native” English thing I could think of.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 20:23
  • News media (at least in the UK) often say, e.g. "father-of-one". Commented May 3, 2016 at 9:13

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