Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day

icon by Dona Sheehan

Even though Mother’s Day is a modern construct, the sentiment behind it is laudable. The impact that loving mothers have on society is incalculable and can’t be celebrated enough. In their honor, let’s take a look at some words pregnant with motherhood.

alma mater: bounteous mother. Originally applied by the Romans to several goddesses, and later transferred to universities and schools, which were supposed to nurture their students.

dura mater: hard mother, from Arabic words representing a strong relationship. The dense, tough, outermost membranous envelope of the brain and spinal cord.

materfamilias: family mother. The female head of a family or household.

matricide: mother murder. A person who kills his or her mother; the act itself.

matrix: maternal womb, source. A supporting or enclosing structure; rectangular array or lattice; global network.

matroclinous: mother-leaning. Resembling the female parent more closely than the male.

matronymic/metronymic: mother name. A personal or family name derived from that of a mother or other female ancestor.

metropolis: mother city. The seat or see of a metropolitan bishop; a major city.

SIDEBAR: Quotes about mothers

Now available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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