[ muhth-er-hood ]
/ ˈmʌð ərˌhʊd /
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the state of being a mother; maternity.
the qualities or spirit of a mother.
mothers collectively.
having or relating to an inherent worthiness, justness, or goodness that is obvious or unarguable: legislation pushed through on a motherhood basis.


Motherhood Redefines Expectations

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Origin of motherhood

First recorded in 1375–1425; from the late Middle English word moderhed.See mother1, -hood
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does motherhood mean?

Motherhood is the state of being a mother.

A person enters motherhood when they become a mother. This most commonly happens when their child is born, but it can also happen through adoption or by marrying or becoming a partner to someone with children.

Motherhood is a gender-specific version of the term parenthood.

Less commonly, motherhood can refer to all mothers collectively, as in You won’t find a better mom in all of motherhood. 

Example: People who have not experienced motherhood probably shouldn’t be so quick to criticize how moms parent their children.

Where does motherhood come from?

The first records of the word motherhood come from around 1400. The suffix -hood indicates a state or condition—in this case, the state of being a mother. It’s used in the same way in words like fatherhood, parenthood, adulthood, and childhood.

Unlike adulthood, the start of motherhood is very definite—it begins when a person becomes a mother. After that, most mothers consider motherhood to be a permanent state that lasts even after their children have grown up. In other words, once you become a mother, you never stop being one. Motherhood is usually considered very challenging due to all the difficulties of raising children, but it’s usually also considered very rewarding. It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love, as the saying goes.

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What are some synonyms for motherhood?

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

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

How is motherhood used in real life?

The word motherhood is often associated with the many challenges that it involves.



Try using motherhood!

True or False?

Motherhood is usually thought to end when a mother’s child is an adult.

How to use motherhood in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for motherhood

/ (ˈmʌðəˌhʊd) /

the state of being a mother
the qualities characteristic of a mother
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