Mother | Definition of Mother by Merriam-Webster


noun (1)
moth·​er | \ ˈmə-t͟hər How to pronounce mother (audio) \

Definition of mother

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a female parent She's the mother of three small children.
b(1) : a woman in authority specifically : the superior of a religious community of women Mother Teresa
(2) : an old or elderly woman Mother Hubbard
2 : source, origin necessity is the mother of invention
3 : maternal tenderness or affection all my mother came into mine eyes and gave me up to tears— William Shakespeare
4 [short for motherfucker] sometimes vulgar : motherfucker
5 : something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind especially in terms of scale the mother of all construction projects the mother of all ocean liners



Definition of mother (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : of, relating to, or being a mother
b : bearing the relation of a mother
2 : derived from or as if from one's mother
3 : acting as or providing parental stock used without reference to sex


mothered; mothering\ ˈmə-​t͟hə-​riŋ How to pronounce mothering (audio) , ˈmət͟h-​riŋ \

Definition of mother (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to give birth to
b : to give rise to : produce
2 : to care for or protect like a mother


noun (2)

Definition of mother (Entry 4 of 4)

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Other Words from mother

Noun (1)

motherhood \ ˈmə-​t͟hər-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce motherhood (audio) \ noun
motherless \ ˈmə-​t͟hər-​ləs How to pronounce motherless (audio) \ adjective
motherlessness noun

Synonyms for mother

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of mother in a Sentence

Adjective she often offered to babysit for friends, hoping to satisfy her mother urges until she had children of her own Verb She mothered two sons but no daughters. I hope to mother at least one child.
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First Known Use of mother

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1682, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mother

Noun (1), Adjective, and Verb

Middle English moder, from Old English mōdor; akin to Old High German muoter mother, Latin mater, Greek mētēr, Sanskrit mātṛ

Noun (2)

archaic mother dregs, lees; akin to Middle Dutch moeder dregs

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Time Traveler for mother

Time Traveler

The first known use of mother was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

Mother.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of mother

: to give birth to (a child)
: to be or act as mother to (someone) : to care for or protect (someone) like a mother


moth·​er | \ ˈmə-t͟hər How to pronounce mother (audio) \

Kids Definition of mother

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a female parent
2 : a nun in charge of a convent
3 : cause entry 1 sense 1, origin Necessity is the mother of invention.

Other Words from mother

motherhood \ -​ˌhu̇d \ noun
motherless \ -​ləs \ adjective



Kids Definition of mother (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of or having to do with a mother mother love
2 : being in a relation suggesting that of a mother to others our mother country


mothered; mothering

Kids Definition of mother (Entry 3 of 3)

: to be or act as a mother to


moth·​er | \ ˈmət͟h-ər How to pronounce mother (audio) \

Medical Definition of mother

: a female parent

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