Meaning of mother in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmʌðə/

See synonyms for mother

Translate mother into Spanish


  • 1A woman in relation to her child or children.

    ‘his mother was a painter’
    • ‘a mother of three’
    • ‘she returned to Bristol to nurse her ageing mother’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All those mothers now giving birth at the age of 45 or more should hope that their daughters don't follow their example.’
    • ‘Mr McGeehan said a minority of expectant mothers wanted to give birth at home.’
    • ‘A mother who gave birth outside a locked maternity unit has criticised health bosses for not keeping it open around the clock.’
    • ‘It is a fitting tribute from a daughter to her mother on her 75th birthday.’
    • ‘Just ten months ago his mother, with whom he had lived all of his life, passed away.’
    • ‘My mother has my birth certificate, but she does not want anything to do with me any more.’
    • ‘In 1962, there were more than 2,000 births to mothers who had 10 or more previous children.’
    • ‘You know, the funny thing about sexism is that most young men, you included, have mothers and sisters whom they love and respect.’
    • ‘Mr Marchant and his wife wanted to return to the UK to be near to their mothers, both of whom are elderly, and live in the south.’
    • ‘He lives at home with his parents helping his mother care for his father, who has a debilitating illness.’
    • ‘Now the youngest victim's mother has advised other parents to warn their children to take extra care.’
    • ‘His father and mother were very affectionate and I was fond of his family.’
    • ‘It was my mother, my loving, caring mother who missed me more than words could say.’
    • ‘His parents divorced and he had to take care of his mother and brother.’
    • ‘He said his impression was that she was a good mother and took good care of her children.’
    • ‘We're going to be late to meet my parents and my mother hates to be kept waiting.’
    • ‘My mother is caring and sweet to my siblings, but I haven't felt loved by her for years.’
    • ‘However, after my mother and father divorced, my mother, my two brothers and I moved to Scotsburn.’
    • ‘When Mother sold a story they had three-pennyworth of halfpenny buns for tea.’
    • ‘Six and a half years ago, my mother collapsed and was taken into hospital.’
    • ‘Morana smiled slightly, at the thought of her mother and father watching out for her.’
    female parent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A female animal in relation to its offspring.
      as modifier ‘a mother penguin’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Offspring and their mothers are inseparable during the first few years of the youngster's life.’
      • ‘Shallow water may allow mothers and calves to detect and avoid predatory sharks.’
      • ‘The high female infection rate also spells trouble for the next generation of bears since infected mothers transmit the mites to their offspring.’
      • ‘Mammals are the only major group of vertebrates in which mothers are more involved.’
      • ‘They are taught by their mothers or other bustards how to recognize and avoid foxes and other dangers.’
      • ‘In contrast, zoo elephants are typically found in groups of two, and two-thirds of female calves are taken from their mothers at an early age.’
      • ‘Heifers are females before they become mothers; after that, they're called cows.’
      • ‘Cubs live with their mothers for about a year and a half, when females often conceive again.’
      • ‘I am frequently asked whether handling a baby bird will keep the mother from feeding it.’
      • ‘In Gombe Stream National Park, a chimpanzee sanctuary in western Tanzania, one of the primate mothers, Gremlin, was trying to wean her twins.’
      • ‘The researchers positively identified the mothers of 371 individual bats and the fathers of 232.’
      • ‘Pups learn from their mothers how to forage and what prey items to look for as well as swimming and grooming behaviors.’
      • ‘The mother flew off as usual but seemed no more agitated than she had been when guarding the eggs.’
      • ‘Competition for the few males is now so fierce that dominant females actively push young, would-be mothers out of the picture.’
      • ‘Female baboons tend to form the tightest bonds with their mothers, aunts, and sisters.’
      • ‘One of the non-orphan lambs is having a bottle now and then as its mother isn't caring for it.’
      • ‘Till recently, they were feeding on the regurgitated food provided by the mother.’
    2. 1.2 archaic (especially as a form of address) an elderly woman.
      • ‘‘Mother,’ said the conductor, ‘do you want to go to Denver?’’
    3. 1.3An important female figure in the origin and early history of something.
      ‘she will always be remembered as the mother of modern ecology’
      • ‘they are often referred to as the founding mothers of the Museum of Modern Art’
      originator, initiator, founder, founding mother, inventor, creator, maker, author, prime mover, instigator, architect, engineer, designer, deviser, planner, contriver, mastermind
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4as 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’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 1.5(especially as a title or form of address) the head of a female religious community.
      ‘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.’
  • 2North American vulgar slang

    short for motherfucker


[with object]
  • 1Bring up (a child) with care and affection.

    ‘she didn't know how to mother my brother and he was very sensitive’
    • ‘he found a beautiful wife that mothered his children’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In an exchange that emphasizes the way these two women interpret that love, Williams shows us how power relations affect mothering.’
    • ‘In 1987 he married Fran who, as well as mothering his two children, Billy and Katie, is the co-writer and co-producer of all his films.’
    • ‘Parenting, mothering in particular, requires a subtle intuitiveness for which there can never be adequate preparation in any job.’
    • ‘It is an acknowledgement of all the black women who have mothered other people's children.’
    • ‘Mothers feel passionately about their children and about mothering, which they see as unique and extraordinarily important work.’
    • ‘Yet today, at age 29, she spends her days at her home near Salt Lake City, Utah, mothering her three children, all under age 5.’
    • ‘But asked about the emphasis on mothering, activists say it hasn't played a significant role in contemporary feminist antiwar organizing.’
    • ‘She closely guards the privacy of her daughters, now five and three, only saying that she enjoys mothering and tries hard to spend time with them every day, although her schedule is always tight.’
    • ‘The jobs available to low-skilled women, with few benefits, irregular hours, and little time off, are the least compatible with mothering.’
    • ‘And I don't think you can do everything as well as it needs to be done when it comes to mothering when you have a schedule like mine.’
    • ‘So I feel I can be a good role model as a mother because I love being a mom and I have great advice for everybody when it comes to mothering.’
    • ‘I find it distressing to see in a lot of the news coverage of this issue, how it has forced women to belittle other women's mothering.’
    • ‘Ben acted this way, I now remember, when I took a vacation from mothering.’
    • ‘I don't really have much of a social life - no time after a full day at work and then mothering for the rest of the time.’
    • ‘In this line of thinking, what children in childcare require is substitute mothering.’
    • ‘It's as if Victoria wants to remembered for something else except for mothering David's kids, and being trampled on at the same time.’
    bring up, care for, provide for, take care of, attend to, look after, rear, support, raise, foster, parent, mother, tend
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so.
      ‘she mothered her husband, insisting he should take cod liver oil in the winter’
      • ‘What's more, the judge seems surely, perhaps instinctively, to be protecting him - mothering him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's a good thing I trust those instincts of yours or I'd think you were mothering me.’
      • ‘Mom, if you don't stop mothering him, he's going to come around every day.’
      • ‘He was the youngest of four brothers and sister so he did get spoiled and I mothered him.’
      • ‘Margaret mothers him by sending others off to do his work and fetch him water.’
      • ‘Working with Jane, who plays my mom, was great, though she did tend to mother me a lot.’
      • ‘Odile is both drawn to and repelled by the boy; she wants him to leave but needs him to stay; she mothers him and flirts with him by turns.’
      • ‘She was, of course, my sister, and I loved her, but I had never mothered her the way I had doted on Henry or - most of all - Maggie.’
      • ‘She scolded him and generally mothered him as he insisted that he was completely fine, all the while biting back groans of pain.’
      • ‘He's totally assured in the arena, but in moments of repose you want to mother him.’
      • ‘The two girls worried constantly about each other, and Lauren mothered her all the time, checking that she was eating well, and was warm enough, and sleeping easily.’
      • ‘He loved to be mothered by women and women loved to mother him.’
      • ‘Her gay friends allow her to mother them without the drag of true responsibility.’
      • ‘Anya nodded, but felt an annoyance at being mothered.’
      • ‘She was still mad about that night but more than that, she didn't feel like being mothered by her sister.’
      • ‘While she was never married and had no children of her own, she mothered a great many.’
      look after, care for, take care of, nurture, nurse, protect, cherish, tend, raise, rear
      View synonyms
  • 2 dated Give birth to.

    ‘she's mothered two foals that have gone on to be impressive dressage competitors’
    • ‘Emma O'Leary mothered four sons before her husband ran off with another woman, leaving her to raise the boys on her own.’
    give birth to, have, deliver, bear, produce, bring forth
    View synonyms


    like mother, like daughter
    • A daughter's character or behaviour can be expected to resemble that of her mother.

    the mother of all ——
    • An extreme example or very large specimen of a specified thing.

      • ‘I got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are the mother of all prawns and fetch handsome prices for those who net them from the wild.’
      • ‘I was in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror, psyching myself up for the mother of all Friday night parties.’
      • ‘The mother of all Bulgarian potholes was a result of a five-year plan ending in 1987.’
      • ‘The mother of all howlers was the prediction of future scarcity of resources in the 1970s.’
      • ‘This bus station is being seen as the mother of all solutions to the grievances of bus commuters in Bangalore.’
      • ‘But we suspect the anti-Europeans will very shortly wake up with the mother of all hangovers.’
      • ‘I'm feeling very sorry for myself today as I have the mother of all colds.’
      • ‘Fast forward to Saturday morning and I was having a lie down out in the sun with the mother of all hangovers.’
      • ‘Irvine persuaded the city fathers to throw the mother of all parties.’
      • ‘I then had a little something to eat and watched a little telly, although I still had the mother of all headaches.’
      • ‘It sounds like the mother of all hangovers to me, but I may be being unfair - she suffers with a twisted spine.’
      • ‘It looks like it's going to be the mother of all bottlenecks, and a super overpass will be needed.’
      • ‘It's the mother of all tribal sectarian conflicts and it's hard to articulate it without taking sides.’
      • ‘I do not want to live through the Third World War which has the potential to be the Mother of all Wars.’


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.