Word Origin & History
O.E. modor, from P.Gmc. *mothær (cf. O.S. modar, Dan. moder, Du. moeder, Ger. Mutter), from PIE *mater- (cf. L. mater, O.Ir. mathir, Lith. mote, Skt. matar-, Gk. meter, O.C.S. mati). Spelling with -th- dates from early 16c., though that pronunciation is probably older. The verb meaning "to take
care of" is first recorded 1863. 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 Hueein'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.