ORIGIN OF THE WORD MOTHER
ORIGIN OF THE WORD MOTHER
The English word ‘mother’ was first derived from the Greek ‘mētēr’, whose name was also connected to the Greek goddess Demeter. She is the mother of the gods. Mother in the Greek language, is “Mitéra (μητέρα).” Examples of other such goddesses include Isis, Astarte, and Cybele. The Latin word was a shorter “MATR/MATER” and you will find it everywhere in English when words are motherly.
Have you ever visited the MATERnity ward at a hospital? This is for new “mothers” who are experiencing “MOTHERhood” with a new born infant. Maternity and MATERnal feelings are often not far from MATRimony, the state of being married or the marriage itself after which women often decide to become “mothers” in order to raise a family.
A similar root-word of meter, means the “womb.” Another similar Greek word is “metra” meaning uterus. All our mothers are named after the Goddess of the Earth (Gaia) because she gives us all Life, and from whose dark womb, comes the light of creation. These are all the origins of where we get “matter,” or physical form. There is also MATERial, MATRix, MATRon, MATRiarch, etc. You get the point by now.
The Latins had called their supreme goddess “Magna Mater,” which in English is Great Mother. Their word for love and desire is ‘amo.’ A similar word is the the Hebrew word for mother, ima (אמא, pronounced /ˈimä/). Almah is a term for “mother” in several different languages. During the T’ang Dynasty in China, the word Amah was used as an informal and poetic title for the Taoist goddess Queen Mother of the West. (Wikipedia)
Mother in Old English is mōdor, and in Old Irish, all the words Momo, Muhman, Mamman, Nang, and Ama signify mother. The Dutch say moeder, and German Mutter. In France, the French word for “mother” is “mère”, but most French call their mother “maman.”
Most Russians call their mothers mama, but the formal word is Мать ( Maht’). The Russian goddess of the earth is known as Mati-syra-zemla. The Fijian word for mother is nana, and here in America many people call their grandmothers nana.
There you have it. All our mothers are named after the Mother of the Gods, and the etymology of mother first comes to us from the Greek word meter, which simply means womb. Our word for physical life, or matter, is also rooted in the same etymology.
Also, be mindful that the term used for a school you once attended is “Alma Mater” ... which literally means “nurturing Mother.” And now you know.
Just a thought ...
Justin Taylor, ORDM.