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mother tongue

[muhth -er tuhng for 1; muhth -er tuhng for 2] /ˈmʌð ər ˈtʌŋ for 1; ˈmʌð ər ˌtʌŋ for 2/
the language first learned by a person; native language.
Origin of mother tongue
1350-1400; Middle English moder tonge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mother-tongue
Historical Examples
  • Each long, perfect day rose behind Kim for a barrier to cut him off from his race and his mother-tongue.

    Kim Rudyard Kipling
  • She could already speak French and Italian as fluently as her mother-tongue.

    History of the English People John Richard Green
  • For in this part of Turkey their mother-tongue is the language of their oppressors—the badge of servitude.

    The Red Rugs of Tarsus Helen Davenport Gibbons
  • What, if we will think of it, could he know of his first mother-tongue!

  • Here they must have remained long enough to have developed their admirable language, the mother-tongue of those which we know.

    Ten Great Religions James Freeman Clarke
  • It was to him a marvel that these people's mother-tongue was Slav.

  • The truth is that everyone is entered according to his mother-tongue.

  • He even smiled a little at his adoption of his adversary's mother-tongue.

    Brothers of Peril Theodore Goodridge Roberts
  • Dyslalia continues with many children a long time even after the learning of the mother-tongue.

  • Often priest and teachers have been imported, and only the mother-tongue is used.

    The Old World in the New Edward Alsworth Ross
British Dictionary definitions for mother-tongue

mother tongue

the language first learned by a child
a language from which another has evolved
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for mother-tongue
noun's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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