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Webster 1913 Edition


Mother

Moth′er

(mŭth′ẽr)
,
Noun.
[OE.
moder
, AS.
mōdor
; akin to D.
moeder
, OS.
mōdar
, G.
mutter
, OHG.
muotar
, Icel.
mōðir
, Dan. & Sw.
moder
, OSlav.
mati
, Russ.
mate
, Ir. & Gael.
mathair
, L.
mater
, Gr.
μήτηρ
, Skr.
mātṛ
; cf. Skr.
mā
to measure. √268. Cf.
Material
,
Matrix
,
Metropolis
,
Father
.]
1.
A female parent; especially, one of the human race; a woman who has borne a child.
2.
That which has produced or nurtured anything; source of birth or origin; generatrix.
Alas! poor country! . . . it can not
Be called our
mother
, but our grave.
Shakespeare
I behold . . . the solitary majesty of Crete,
mother
of a religion, it is said, that lived two thousand years.
Landor.
3.
An old woman or matron.
[Familiar]
4.
The female superior or head of a religious house, as an abbess, etc.
5.
Hysterical passion; hysteria.
[Obs.]
Shak.
Mother Carey’s chicken
(Zool.)
,
any one of several species of small petrels, as the stormy petrel (
Procellaria pelagica
), and Leach's petrel (
Oceanodroma leucorhoa
), both of the Atlantic, and
Oceanodroma furcata
of the North Pacific.
Mother Carey's goose
(Zool.)
,
the giant fulmar of the Pacific. See
Fulmar
.
Mother's mark
(Med.)
,
a congenital mark upon the body; a birthmark; a naevus.

Moth′er

,
Adj.
Received by birth or from ancestors; native, natural;
as,
mother
language
; also acting the part, or having the place of a mother; producing others; originating.
It is the
mother
falsehood from which all idolatry is derived.
T. Arnold.
Mother cell
(Biol.)
,
a cell which, by endogenous divisions, gives rise to other cells (daughter cells); a parent cell.
Mother church
,
the original church; a church from which other churches have sprung;
as, the
mother church
of a diocese
.
Mother country
,
the country of one's parents or ancestors; the country from which the people of a colony derive their origin.
Mother liquor
(Chem.)
,
the impure or complex residual solution which remains after the salts readily or regularly crystallizing have been removed.
Mother queen
,
the mother of a reigning sovereign; a queen mother.
Mother tongue
.
(a)
A language from which another language has had its origin
.
(b)
The language of one's native land; native tongue.
Mother water
.
See
Mother liquor
(above).
Mother wit
,
natural or native wit or intelligence.

Moth′er

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Mothered
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Mothering
.]
To adopt as a son or daughter; to perform the duties of a mother to.
The queen, to have put lady Elizabeth besides the crown, would have
mothered
another body's child.
Howell.

Moth′er

,
Noun.
[Akin to D.
modder
mud, G.
moder
mold, mud, Dan.
mudder
mud, and to E.
mud
. See
Mud
.]
A film or membrane which is developed on the surface of fermented alcoholic liquids, such as vinegar, wine, etc., and acts as a means of conveying the oxygen of the air to the alcohol and other combustible principles of the liquid, thus leading to their oxidation.
☞ The film is composed of a mass of rapidly developing microorganisms of the genus
Mycoderma
, and in the
mother of vinegar
the microorganisms (
Mycoderma aceti
) composing the film are the active agents in the Conversion of the alcohol into vinegar. When thickened by growth, the film may settle to the bottom of the fluid. See
Acetous fermentation
, under
Fermentation
.

Moth′er

,
Verb.
I.
To become like, or full of, mother, or thick matter, as vinegar.

Webster 1828 Edition


Mother

MOTHER

,
Noun.
[L. mater, mother; matrix, the womb; materia, matter, stuff, materials of which any thing is made. We observe that in some other languages, as well as in English, the same word signifies a female parent, and the thick slime formed in vinegar; and in all the languages of Europe here cited, the orthography is nearly the same as that of mud and matter. The question then occurs whether the name of a female parent originated in a word expressing matter, mold; either the soil of the earth, as the producer, or the like substance, when shaped and fitted as a mold for castings; or whether the name is connected with the opinion that the earth is the mother of all productions; whence the word mother-earth. We are informed by a fragment of Sanchoniathon, that the ancient Phenicians considered mud to be the substance from which all things were formed. See Mud. The word matter is evidently from the Ar. madda, to secrete, eject or discharge a purulent substance; and I think cannot have any direct connection with mud. But in the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, the same word madre signified mother, and a mold for castings; and the northern languages, particularly the German and Danish, seem to establish the fact that the proper sense of mother is matrix. Hence mother of pearl, the matrix of pearl. If this word had its origin in the name of the earth used for the forms of castings, it would not be a singular fact; for our word mold, in this sense, I suppose to be so named from mold, fine earth. The question remains sub judice.]
1.
A female parent; especially, one of the human race; a woman who has borne a child; correlative to son or daughter.
2.
That which has produced any thing.
Alas, poor country! it cannot
Be called our mother, but our grave.
So our native land is called mother country, and a plant from which a slip or cion is taken, is called the mother plant. In this use, mother may be considered as an adjective.
3.
That which has preceded in time; the oldest or chief of any thing; as a mother-church.
4.
Hysterical passion. [Not used.]
5.
A familiar term of address or appellation of an old woman or matron.
6.
An appellation given to a woman who exercises care and tenderness towards another, or gives parental advice; as when one says,' a woman has been a mother to me.'
7.
A thick slimy substance concreted in liquors, particularly in vinegar, very different from scum or common lees.

MOTHER

of pearl,
Noun.
The matrix of pearl; the shell in which pearls are generated; a species of Mytilus or Mussel.

MOTHER

of thyme,
Noun.
A plant of the genus Thymus.

MOTHER

,
Adj.
Native; natural; received by birth; as mother-wit.
1.
Native; vernacular; received from parents or ancestors; as mother-tongue.

MOTHER

,
Verb.
I.
To concrete, as the thick matter of liquors.

MOTHER

,
Verb.
T.
To adopt as a son or daughter.

Definition 2022


Mother

Mother

See also: mother and moth-er

English

Proper noun

Mother

  1. One's mother.
  2. A title given to a nun or a priestess.
  3. (Wicca) One of the triune goddesses of the Lady in Wicca alongside the Crone and Maiden and representing a woman older than a girlish Maiden but younger than an aged Crone.
    • 2002, A.J. Drew, Wicca for Couples: Making Magick Together, page 90
      ...different stages of life as represented by our Lady as Maiden, Mother, and Crone, as well as our Lord as Master, Father, and Sage.
    • 2004, Aurora Greenbough, Cathy Jewell, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spells and Spellcraft, page 9
      The Lady is often thought of as having three aspects: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

Synonyms

Antonyms

See also

mother

mother

See also: Mother and moth-er

English

Noun

mother (plural mothers)

  1. A (human) female who (a) parents a child (b) gives birth to a baby (c) donates a fertilized egg or (d) donates a body cell which has resulted in a clone. Sometimes used in reference to a pregnant female, possibly as a shortened form of mother-to-be.
    I am visiting my mother(a) today.My sister-in-law has just become a mother.(b)Nutrients and oxygen obtained by the mother(c) are conveyed to the fetus.
    • 1988, Robert Ferro, Second Son,
      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.
    • 1991, Susan Faludi, The Undeclared War Against American Women,
      The antiabortion iconography in the last decade featured the fetus but never the mother.
  2. A female parent of an animal.
    The lioness was a mother of four cubs.
  3. (figuratively) A female ancestor.
    • 1525, William Tyndale, Bible, Genesis, 3, xx,
      And Ada[Adam] called his wyfe Heua[Eve] because she was the mother of all that lyveth
    • 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.
  4. (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.
  5. (when followed by a surname) A title of respect for one's mother-in-law.
    Mother Smith, meet my cousin, Doug Jones.
  6. (figuratively) Any elderly woman, especially within a particular community.
  7. (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.
  8. The principal piece of an astrolabe, into which the others are fixed.
  9. The female superior or head of a religious house; an abbess, etc.
  10. (obsolete) Hysterical passion; hysteria.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
Synonyms
  • (one’s female parent): See also Wikisaurus:mother
  • (of or pertaining to the mother, such as metropolis): metro-
Antonyms
Hypernyms
Coordinate terms
Derived terms
Translations

Verb

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

  1. (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.
Translations

References

Etymology 2

Calque of Arabic أُمّ (ʾumm)

Noun

mother (plural mothers)

  1. Something that is the greatest or most significant of its kind.
    "The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun." — Saddam Hussein
Related terms
Translations

Etymology 3

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.

Noun

mother

  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

Verb

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 4

Shortened from ****

Alternative forms

Noun

mother (plural mothers)

  1. (euphemistic, vulgar, slang) ****.
  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
Synonyms
Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: within · room · power · #265: mother · often · themselves · half

Etymology 5

Coined from moth by analogy to mouser.

Pronunciation

Noun

mother (plural mothers)

  1. Alternative form of moth-er