godmother

[ god-muhth-er ]
/ ˈgɒdˌmʌð ər /

noun

a woman who serves as sponsor for a child at baptism.
any female sponsor or guardian.

verb (used with object)

to act as godmother to; sponsor.

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Origin of godmother

before 1000; Middle English; Old English godmōdor;see origin at god, mother1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does godmother mean?

A godmother is a woman who’s a godparent—a person who has pledged to help with the upbringing of a child, especially in a religious way.

In some denominations of Christianity, when a child is baptized, they are sponsored by (usually two) adults who pledge to help in this way. Those adults are the child’s godparents, and the child is their godchild.

Godparents are often related to their godchildren (an aunt might be her nephew’s godmother, for example), but they don’t need to be.

Godparents also often pledge to become the godchild’s guardian if needed (in the event that the child’s parents die).

These terms are all sometimes applied outside of a religious context—parents may choose close relatives or friends to act as godparents for their children without any religious aspect to the relationship.

The word godmother is also sometimes used in a more general way to refer to a woman, especially one who’s older, who serves as a person’s mentor, protector, or simply someone who shows them kindness. The term fairy godmother is used in this way.

Godmother can also be used in a somewhat figurative way to refer to a woman who’s considered the originator or main guiding force of a movement, school of thought, art form, or industry.

Example: Joann is a wonderful godmother and spoils all of her godchildren.

Where does godmother come from?

The first records of the word godmother come from before 1000 (the word godfather is first recorded around the same time; godparent is first recorded much later, around 1700). Even though the word God is usually capitalized in the context of Christianity, it’s spelled lowercase in some general terms, such as godliness.

In some Christian denominations, people officially become godparents to their godchild at the child’s baptism by making specific pledges to assist with their religious upbringing. Some parents, though, choose godparents for their child simply by asking them to have a special presence in their godchild’s life (and often to act as the child’s guardians if something should happen to them). This may or may not involve a religious aspect.

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What are some other forms related to godmother?

  • godmotherly (adjective)

What are some synonyms for godmother?

What are some words that share a root or word element with godmother

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing godmother?

 

How is godmother used in real life?

The word godmother is especially associated with the relationship that’s made official during the Christian ceremony of baptism, but it’s also often used in a general or figurative way that’s not related to religion.

 

 

Try using godmother!

Is godmother used correctly in the following sentence?

She is widely recognized as the godmother of this movement.

Example sentences from the Web for godmother

British Dictionary definitions for godmother

godmother
/ (ˈɡɒdˌmʌðə) /

noun

a female godparent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012