Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us.

Then they will cease, and wives and mothers will come here to weep.

So died the witch, and nevermore do mothers say when children misbehave.

Their study was dress; and slaves, their mothers excepted, were their only companions.

Fathers and mothers regard their children with painful solicitude.

The actions of the mothers were as methodical as well trained nurses.

Lady Leonora is now the happiest of wives, and your Grace the happiest of mothers.

Most boys won't do that with their mothers—not nearly that long.

Other people's mothers were, so to speak, furniture mothers.

(With some sacrifices, our mothers would say,) Our glorious Independence!


Old English modor "female parent," from Proto-Germanic *mothær (cf. Old Saxon modar, Old Frisian moder, Old Norse moðir, Danish moder, Dutch moeder, Old High German muoter, German Mutter), from PIE *mater- "mother" (cf. Latin mater, Old Irish mathir, Lithuanian mote, Sanskrit matar-, Greek meter, Old Church Slavonic mati), "[b]ased ultimately on the baby-talk form *mā- (2); with the kinship term suffix *-ter-" [Watkins]. Spelling with -th- dates from early 16c., though that pronunciation is probably older.

Mother nature first attested c.1600; mother earth is from 1580s. Mother tongue "one's native language" first attested late 14c. Mother of all ________ 1991, is Gulf War slang, from Saddam Hussein's use in reference to the coming battle; it is an Arabic idiom (as well as an English one), cf. Ayesha, second wife of Muhammad, known as Mother of Believers. Mother Carey's chickens is late 18c. sailors' nickname for storm petrels, or for snowflakes. Mother lode attested by c.1882, from mining [1849].

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.