Idioms

    mother of all, the greatest or most notable example of: the mother of all mystery novels.

Origin of mother

1
before 900; Middle English mother, moder, Old English mōdor; cognate with Dutch moeder, German Mutter, Old Norse mōthir, Latin māter, Greek mḗtēr, Sanskrit mātar-. As in father, th was substituted for d, possibly on the model of brother
Related formsmoth·er·less, adjectivemoth·er·less·ness, nounun·moth·ered, adjective

Synonyms for mother

mother

2
[muhth-er]

noun

a stringy, mucilaginous substance consisting of various bacteria, especially Mycoderma aceti, that forms on the surface of a fermenting liquid and causes fermentation when added to other liquids, as in changing wine or cider to vinegar.

Origin of mother

2
1530–40; probably special use of mother1, but perhaps another word, akin to Dutch modder dregs, Middle Low German moder swampy land; see mud
Also called mother of vinegar.

mother

3
[muhth-er]

noun Slang: Vulgar.

a person or thing that is very large, powerful, or impressive.

Origin of mother

3
First recorded in 1945–50; euphemistic shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for mother

Contemporary Examples of mother

Historical Examples of mother

  • But Avice is—er—my dear, she is like her mother in more ways than one.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Give your heart up to it, as a little child led by its mother's hand!

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • You were our only child; named Artaminta, in remembrance of my mother.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • The young man stared at his mother until he had mastered her meaning.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "You're carryin' on the same way yourself," ventured his mother.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson


British Dictionary definitions for mother

mother

1

noun

  1. a female who has given birth to offspring
  2. (as modifier)a mother bird
(often capital, esp as a term of address) a person's own mother
a female substituting in the function of a mother
(often capital) mainly archaic a term of address for an old woman
  1. motherly qualities, such as maternal affectionit appealed to the mother in her
  2. (as modifier)mother love
  3. (in combination)mothercraft
  1. a female or thing that creates, nurtures, protects, etc, something
  2. (as modifier)mother church; mother earth
a title given to certain members of female religious ordersmother superior
Christian Science God as the eternal Principle
(modifier) native or innatemother wit
offensive, taboo, slang, mainly US short for motherfucker offensive
be mother to pour the teaI'll be mother
the mother of all … informal the greatest example of its kindthe mother of all parties

verb (tr)

to give birth to or produce
to nurture, protect, etc as a mother
Related formsRelated adjective: maternal
Derived Formsmothering, noun

Word Origin for mother

Old English mōdor; compare Old Saxon mōdar, Old High German muotar, Latin māter, Greek mētēr

mother

2

noun

a stringy slime containing various bacteria that forms on the surface of liquids undergoing acetous fermentation. It can be added to wine, cider, etc to promote vinegar formationAlso called: mother of vinegar
Derived Formsmothery, adjective

Word Origin for mother

C16: perhaps from mother 1, but compare Spanish madre scum, Dutch modder dregs, Middle Low German modder decaying object, mudde sludge
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

Word Origin and History for mother
n.1

Old English modor "female parent," from Proto-Germanic *mothær (cf. Old Saxon modar, Old Frisian moder, Old Norse moðir, Danish moder, Dutch moeder, Old High German muoter, German Mutter), from PIE *mater- "mother" (cf. Latin mater, Old Irish mathir, Lithuanian mote, Sanskrit matar-, Greek meter, Old Church Slavonic mati), "[b]ased ultimately on the baby-talk form *mā- (2); with the kinship term suffix *-ter-" [Watkins]. Spelling with -th- dates from early 16c., though that pronunciation is probably older.

Mother nature first attested c.1600; mother earth is from 1580s. Mother tongue "one's native language" first attested late 14c. Mother of all ________ 1991, is Gulf War slang, from Saddam Hussein's use in reference to the coming battle; it is an Arabic idiom (as well as an English one), cf. Ayesha, second wife of Muhammad, known as Mother of Believers. Mother Carey's chickens is late 18c. sailors' nickname for storm petrels, or for snowflakes. Mother lode attested by c.1882, from mining [1849].

v.

1540s, "to be the mother of," from mother (n.1). Meaning "to take care of" is from 1863. Related: Mothered; mothering.

n.2

"a thick substance concreting in liquors; the lees or scum concreted" [Johnson], probably from Middle Dutch modder "filth, dregs," from PIE *meu- (see mud).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mother in Medicine

mother

[mŭðər]

n.

A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.
A female parent of an animal.
A structure, such as a mother cell, from which other similar bodies are formed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with mother

mother

In addition to the idiom beginning with mother

  • mother of

also see:

  • necessity is the mother of invention
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.