Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

mother1

[muhth-er]
See more synonyms for mother on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a female parent.
  2. (often initial capital letter) one's female parent.
  3. a mother-in-law, stepmother, or adoptive mother.
  4. a term of address for a female parent or a woman having or regarded as having the status, function, or authority of a female parent.
  5. a term of familiar address for an old or elderly woman.
  6. mother superior.
  7. a woman exercising control, influence, or authority like that of a mother: to be a mother to someone.
  8. the qualities characteristic of a mother, as maternal affection: It is the mother in her showing itself.
  9. something or someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over something else; origin or source.
  10. (in disc recording) a mold from which stampers are made.
Show More
adjective
  1. being a mother: a mother bird.
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a mother: mother love.
  3. derived from or as if from one's mother; native: his mother culture.
  4. bearing a relation like that of a mother, as in being the origin, source, or protector: the mother company and its affiliates; the mother computer and its network of terminals.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to be the mother of; give origin or rise to.
  2. to acknowledge oneself the author of; assume as one's own.
  3. to care for or protect like a mother; act maternally toward.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to perform the tasks or duties of a female parent; act maternally: a woman with a need to mother.
Show More
Idioms
  1. mother of all, the greatest or most notable example of: the mother of all mystery novels.
Show More

Origin of mother1

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

See more synonyms for mother on Thesaurus.com
17. tend, nurse, mind, raise.

mother2

[muhth-er]
noun
  1. 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.
Show More

Origin of mother2

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.

mother3

[muhth-er]
noun Slang: Vulgar.
  1. motherfucker.
  2. a person or thing that is very large, powerful, or impressive.
Show More

Origin of mother3

First recorded in 1945–50; euphemistic shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mother

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

mother1

noun
    1. a female who has given birth to offspring
    2. (as modifier)a mother bird
  1. (often capital, esp as a term of address) a person's own mother
  2. a female substituting in the function of a mother
  3. (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
  4. a title given to certain members of female religious ordersmother superior
  5. Christian Science God as the eternal Principle
  6. (modifier) native or innatemother wit
  7. offensive, taboo, slang, mainly US short for motherfucker offensive
  8. be mother to pour the teaI'll be mother
  9. the mother of all … informal the greatest example of its kindthe mother of all parties
Show More
verb (tr)
  1. to give birth to or produce
  2. to nurture, protect, etc as a mother
Show More
Related formsRelated adjective: maternal
Derived Formsmothering, noun

Word Origin

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

mother2

noun
  1. 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
Show More
Derived Formsmothery, adjective

Word Origin

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].

Show More

v.

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

Show More

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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mother in Medicine

mother

(mŭðər)
n.
  1. A woman who conceives, gives birth to, or raises and nurtures a child.
  2. A female parent of an animal.
  3. A structure, such as a mother cell, from which other similar bodies are formed.
Show More
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
Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.