Preferred term: parent

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1. A female parent; especially, one of the human race; a woman who has borne a child.

2. That which has produced or nurtured anything; source of birth or origin; generatrix. "Alas! poor country! . It can not Be called our mother, but our grave." (Shak) "I behold . The solitary majesty of Crete, mother of a religion, it is said, that lived two thousand years." (Landor)

3. An old woman or matron.

4. The female superior or head of a religious house, as an abbess, etc.

5. <medicine> Mother Carey's chicken, a congenital mark upon the body; a naevus.

6. Received by birth or from ancestors; native, natural; as, mother language; also acting the part, or having the place of a mother; producing others; originating. "It is the mother falsehood from which all idolatry is derived." (T.

7. <biology> Arnold) Mother cell, the impure or complex residual solution which remains after the salts readily or regularly crystallizing have been removed. Mother queen, the mother of a reigning sovereign; a queen mother. Mother tongue. A language from which another language has had its origin. The language of one's native land; native tongue. Mother water. See Mother liquor (above). Mother wit, natural or native wit or intelligence.

(01 Mar 1998)

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