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moth·er 1 (mŭthər)
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n.
1.
a. A woman who gives birth to a child.
b. A woman whose egg unites with a sperm, producing an embryo.
c. A woman who adopts a child.
d. A woman who raises a child.
2. A female parent of an animal.
3. A female ancestor.
4. A woman who holds a position of authority or responsibility similar to that of a mother: a den mother.
5. Roman Catholic Church
a. A mother superior.
b. Used as a form of address for such a woman.
6. A woman who creates, originates, or founds something: "the discovery of radium, which made Marie Curie mother to the Atomic Age" (Alden Whitman).
7. A creative source; an origin: Philosophy is the mother of the sciences.
8. Used as a title for a woman respected for her wisdom and age.
9. Maternal love and tenderness: brought out the mother in her.
10. The biggest or most significant example of its kind: the mother of all battles.
11. Vulgar Slang Something considered extraordinary, as in disagreeableness, size, or intensity.
adj.
1. Relating to or being a mother.
2. Characteristic of a mother: mother love.
3. Being the source or origin: the mother church.
4. Derived from or as if from one's mother; native: one's mother language.
v. moth·ered, moth·er·ing, moth·ers
v.tr.
1.
a. To give birth to: mothered three children.
b. To be the source of; create or produce: "Necessity mothered the invention of printing" (Irving Wallace).
2. To act as mother to, as in nourishing and protecting.
v.intr.
To act or serve as a mother.

[Middle English moder, mother, from Old English mōdor; see māter- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. N., sense 10, translation of Iraqi Arabic 'umm. N., sense 11, short for MOTHERFUCKER.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
moth·er 2 (mŭthər)
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n.
A stringy slime composed of yeast cells and bacteria that forms on the surface of fermenting liquids and is added to wine or cider to start the production of vinegar.

[Probably alteration (influenced by MOTHER1) of obsolete Dutch moeder, from Middle Dutch, probably from moeder, mother of children; see māter- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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