mother of all

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Popularized after its use by Saddam Hussein, then president of Iraq, in reference to the Gulf War as ام المعارك (umm al-ma‘ārik, mother of battles).

Phrase[edit]

mother of all

  1. (colloquial) Used before a plural noun to form a compound noun having the sense of: the greatest or largest of its kind.
    • 2003, "2003 Movie Guide", Christian Science Monitor, 26 Dec 03:
      Driving to a dinner engagement, a Parisian woman gets stuck in the mother of all traffic jams, offers a ride to a handsome pedestrian, and enters a fleeting affair that catches both of them by surprise.
    • 2006, Jean Chatzky, "Get the Scoop", Money, vol. 35.8:
      Five mail-order ice creams. Four pregnant women. Welcome to the mother of all taste tests.

See also[edit]