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Line breaks: mother
Pronunciation: /ˈmʌðə

Definition of mother in English:


1A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth: he was visiting his mother a mother of three
More example sentences
  • In eight of these cities, more than 60% of births were to unwed mothers.
  • The average age of mothers who gave birth in 2000 was 30.
  • To prove this she interviewed mothers who had given birth prematurely and discovered that a high proportion of them had suffered stress events in pregnancy.
female parent, materfamilias, matriarch;
biological mother, birth mother, foster mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, surrogate mother
British informal mum, mummy, mumsy
North American informal mom, mommy
British informal , dated mater
dated mama, mamma
Indian Mata
Indian informal amma
rare progenitress, progenitrix
1.1A female animal in relation to its offspring: [as modifier]: a mother penguin
More example sentences
  • Females stay with their mothers, forming a group of related animals that co-operate to bring up and feed the latest litters of cubs.
  • Orangutan offspring stay with their mothers until they're seven or eight years old, but orangutans are on the lower end of the sociability scale among great apes.
  • Cub aggression, however, is not necessarily higher among offspring of high-ranking mothers, the study says.
1.2 archaic (Especially as a form of address) an elderly woman.
Example sentences
  • ‘Mother,’ said the conductor, ‘do you want to go to Denver?’
1.3 [as modifier] Denoting an institution or organization from which others of the same type derive: the initiatives were based on the experience of the mother company
More example sentences
  • In general, it is given the task of filling market niches in which the mother company does not compete.
  • He argues that there is only one mother church, which is the Catholic church, so it is terminologically incorrect to call say the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches sister churches as it places them on a level of equality.
1.4 informal An extreme example or very large specimen of something: I got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams
More example sentences
  • Perhaps, the cricket coaches and psychologists should speak to them about how to motivate the team to win the mother of all cricketing contests.
  • I look around to see, watching me, two glass bead eyes stitched onto the mother of all big handbags.
  • Next, the restaurant lays out the mother of all meals, a Royal Thai degustation feast.
2 (Mother, Mother Superior, or Reverend Mother) (Especially as a title or form of address) the head of a female religious community.
Example sentences
  • Sr. Elizabeth Ann Eckert is the new reverend mother of the Anglican Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, succeeding Sr. Constance Joanna Gefvert.
  • Mother Aquinas faced the decision with great courage and tact.
3 vulgar slang , chiefly North American short for motherfucker.


[with object] Back to top  
1 (often as noun mothering) Bring up (a child) with care and affection: the art of mothering
More example sentences
  • With a husband fighting in the war, likely to die at any moment, and a farm of wounded, vulgar soldiers, mothering a child would not be an easy task.
  • One child, abandoned years earlier at hospital by his mother, has attached himself to Nancy, who mothers the orphan, discipline and all.
  • Topics include mothering, fathering, marriages, family group processes, sibling relations, and families.
1.1Look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so: she mothered her husband, insisting he should take cod liver oil in the winter
More example sentences
  • What's more, the judge seems surely, perhaps instinctively, to be protecting him - mothering him.
  • Fluent in five languages, highly informed and a stickler for precise dates and details, she is equally at ease mothering me with biscuits, stuffing plant cuttings into my hands or scolding me for my dismal grasp of the Czech language.
  • She dominated the compartment and decided to wield her power over me as well, mocking my stuttering Hindi and mothering me by forcing me to eat.
2 dated Give birth to: her declining years had tricked her into believing she’d mothered another son of God
More example sentences
  • Emma O'Leary mothered four sons before her husband ran off with another woman, leaving her to raise the boys on her own.
North American birth
informal drop
archaic be brought to bed of


Old English mōdor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch moeder and German Mutter, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin mater and Greek mētēr.



Example sentences
  • Why can't men be as articulate and open about the joys of fatherhood, as women are about motherhood?
  • Though she's clearly cut out for marriage and motherhood the busy star has no intention of being a stay-at-home mum.
  • She revealed she was enjoying every moment of motherhood and believed it had changed her life for the better.


Example sentences
  • In a grim industrial town, young, motherless Billy eschews the boxing lessons that his macho dad intends for him, taking dance classes, instead.
  • Ninety five years later Eileen still remembered walking into a lamp post in Wellington - a little motherless girl uprooted from home and too saddened to watch where she was going.
  • Divorced when their daughter Emma was nine months old, she developed a serious drink problem before the very real threat of leaving her daughter motherless forced her to reconsider.


adjective& adverb
Example sentences
  • ‘Kerry?’ the tone of her voice sounded mother-like.’
  • She becomes, in relation to Nigel, a mother-like figure.
  • She could easily fake a very mother-like voice, and was always appointed with the job of calling their school and reporting their absences.

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