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See also: Mother and moth-er

Contents

EnglishEdit

 
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PronunciationEdit

 
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Etymology 1Edit

 
A mother cat and her kittens

From Middle English moder, from Old English mōdor, from Proto-Germanic *mōdēr (compare West Frisian moer, Saterland Frisian Muur, Dutch moeder, German Mutter, Danish moder, Norwegian mor), from Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr (compare Irish máthair, Latin mater, Albanian motër (sister), Tocharian A mācar, Tocharian B mācer, Lithuanian mótė, Russian мать (matʹ), Ancient Greek μήτηρ (mḗtēr), Armenian մայր (mayr), Persian مادر(mâdar), Sanskrit मातृ (mātṛ)).

Some authorities consider the sense "greatest thing of its kind" to be a calque of Arabic أُمّ(ʾumm, mother), but others do not[1] and other familial terms are also used this way, e.g. granddaddy.

NounEdit

mother (plural mothers)

  1. A (human) female who has given birth to a baby
    I am visiting my mother today.My sister-in-law has just become a mother.
    He had something of his mother in him, but this was because he realized that in the end only her love was unconditional, and in gratitude he had emulated her.
  2. A human female who parents an adopted or fostered child
  3. A human female who donates a fertilized egg or donates a body cell which has resulted in a clone.
  4. A pregnant female, possibly as a shortened form of mother-to-be.
    Nutrients and oxygen obtained by the mother are conveyed to the fetus.
    • 1988, Robert Ferro, Second Son,
    • 1991, Susan Faludi, The Undeclared War Against American Women,
      The antiabortion iconography in the last decade featured the fetus but never the mother.
  5. A female parent of an animal.
    The lioness was a mother of four cubs.
  6. (figuratively) A female ancestor.
  7. (figuratively) A source or origin.
    The Mediterranean was mother to many cultures and languages.
    • 1606, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3, 1866, George Steevens (editor), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, page 278,
      Alas, poor country: / Almost afraid to know itself! It cannot / Be call'd our mother, but our grave:
    • 1844, Thomas Arnold, Fragment on the Church, Volume 1, page 17,
      But one in the place of God and not God, is as it were a falsehood; it is the mother falsehood from which all idolatry is derived.
  8. Something that is the greatest or most significant of its kind. (See mother of all.)
    • 1991, January 17, Saddam Hussein, Broadcast on Baghdad state radio.
      The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun.
  9. (when followed by a surname) A title of respect for one's mother-in-law.
    Mother Smith, meet my cousin, Doug Jones.
  10. (figuratively) Any elderly woman, especially within a particular community.
  11. (figuratively) Any person or entity which performs mothering.
    • The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel. –Judges 5:7, KJV.
    • Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. –Galatians 4:26, KJV.
  12. The principal piece of an astrolabe, into which the others are fixed.
  13. The female superior or head of a religious house; an abbess, etc.
  14. (obsolete) Hysterical passion; hysteria.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
SynonymsEdit
AntonymsEdit
HypernymsEdit
Coordinate termsEdit
Related termsEdit
Derived termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

See mother/translations § Noun.

VerbEdit

mother (third-person singular simple present mothers, present participle mothering, simple past and past participle mothered)

  1. (chiefly transitive) To give birth to or produce (as its female parent) a child. (Compare father.)
    • 1998, Nina Revoyr, The Necessary Hunger: A Novel, Macmillan (ISBN 9780312181420), page 101:
      Q's sister, Debbie, had mothered two kids by the time she was twenty, with neither of the fathers in sight.
    • 2010, Lynette Joseph-Bani, The Biblical Journey of Slavery: From Egypt to the Americas, AuthorHouse (ISBN 9781452009070), page 51:
      Zilpah, Leah's maid, mothered two sons for Jacob, Gad and Asher. Leah became pregnant once more and had two more sons, Issachar, and Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah, thus Leah had seven children for Jacob.
  2. (transitive) To treat as a mother would be expected to treat her child; to nurture.
    • c. 1900, O. Henry, An Adjustment of Nature
      She had seen fewer years than any of us, but she was of such superb Evehood and simplicity that she mothered us from the beginning.
TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Either an extension of mother (that which produces something; source, origin), or from (or a calque of) a Germanic language term like Dutch moer (sediment formed in various alcholic drinks and vinegar), which see.

NounEdit

mother (plural mothers)

  1. A stringy, mucilaginous or film- or membrane-like substance (consisting of acetobacters) which develops in fermenting alcoholic liquids (such as wine, or cider), and turns the alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air.
    pieces of mother, adding mother to vinegar

VerbEdit

mother (third-person singular simple present mothers, present participle mothering, simple past and past participle mothered)

  1. (transitive) To cause to contain mother (that substance which develops in fermenting alcohol and turns it into vinegar).
    mothered oil / vinegar / wine
  2. (intransitive, of an alcohol) To develop mother.
    • 1968, Evelyn Berckman, The Heir of Starvelings, page 172:
      Iron rusted, paper cracked, cream soured and vinegar mothered.
    • 2013, Richard Dauenhauer, Benchmarks: New and Selected Poems 1963-2013, page 94:
      Your lamp / was always polished, wick / trimmed, waiting; yet the bridegroom / somehow never came. Summer dust / settled in the vineyard. Grapes / were harvested; your parents / crushed and pressed them, but the wine / mothered.

Etymology 3Edit

Clipping of motherfucker

Alternative formsEdit

NounEdit

mother (plural mothers)

  1. (euphemistic, vulgar, slang) Motherfucker.
    • Slim Randles (19 December 1989), “Entrepreneur Hopes Luminaria Delivery Service Catches On”, in The Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque , New Mexico, page 2: “Stick a votive candle in it and fire that mother up, right?”
    • Beyoncé Knowles (lyrics and music) (2011), “Run the World(Girls)”, in 4[1] (in English): “Who run this mother”
  2. (euphemistic, colloquial) A striking example.
    • 1964, Richard L. Newhafer, The last tallyho:
      November, 1943 If ever, Cortney Anders promised himself, I get out of this mother of a thunderstorm there is a thing I will do if it is the last act of my life.
    • 1980, Chester Anderson, Fox & hare: the story of a Friday night, page 5:
      Some hot night there's gonna be one mother of a riot down here. Just wait." He'd been saying the same thing since 1958, five years of crying wolf.
    • 2004 Nov, Rajnar Vajra, “The Ghost Within”, in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, volume 124, page 8:
      Basically, we wind up with a program. One mother of a complex application.
    • 2006, Elizabeth Robinson, The true and outstanding adventures of the Hunt sisters:
      Josh, whose fleshy face resembles a rhino's - beady wide-set eyes blinking between a mother of a snout
SynonymsEdit
TranslationsEdit

Etymology 4Edit

Coined from moth by analogy to mouser.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

mother (plural mothers)

  1. Alternative form of moth-er

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ mother” in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.

Further readingEdit

  • mother” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.

AnagramsEdit


Middle EnglishEdit

NounEdit

mother

  1. (Late Middle English) Alternative form of moder