• mother •
Pronunciation: mê-dhêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun.
Meaning: The female parent, a woman who bears and/or primarily raises a child.
Notes: Even the word mother has born a large and happy family of Germanic offspring. The adjective and adverb of this noun is motherly which has a noun, motherliness, that expresses the affection and nurturing concern of good mothers. The status of being a mother is, of course, motherhood, as a woman who enjoys motherhood after her first child is born. Just as mothers often must handle two jobs, so does today's Good Word, which doubles as a verb: "She mothers him too much", means that she is too attentive.
In Play: Mothers are the central part of our lives and often of other things as well: the central part of a computer is the motherboard and Mother Earth and Mother Nature completely enfold us. The mother of all sales would be the biggest imaginable and the one imitated by all others. Our mothers are the critical part of our lives and or things that are bigger than life (the mother of all . . . ).
Word History: It is most appropriate that the word for "mother" in Proto-Indo-European (the mother of most languages spoken in from India to Europe) originated in the first recognizable syllable uttered by babies: ma. This syllable was attached to a kinship suffix, -ter, which also turns up in brother, father, and sister. The original form, mater-, later evolved into the current words for "mother" in most of the languages of Europe and India: Latin mater, Greek meter (as in metropolis, the mother city), German Mutter, French mère, Serbian majka, Russian mat', materi, Italian and Spanish madre, Portuguese mãe, Danish moder, Dutch and Afrikaans moeder, Norwegian mor, Swedish moder, Icelandic móðir, Irish máthair, Hindi mataji, Gujarati maataa, Farsi (Persian) madar, and Pashto mor. If you are a mother, may this day be as beautiful and exciting as all these languages.
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