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Translingual[edit]

Stroke order
母-order.gif

Etymology[edit]

Pictogram (象形): a woman with breasts with nipples kneeling or standing. In modern form turned on left side. Cognate to (woman), which has developed similarly, but does not include dots for nipples and has lost one breast. Compare also (eggs), presumably from testicles.

母 母 母 母
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Large seal script Small seal script

Han character[edit]

(radical 80 +1, 5 strokes, cangjie input 田卜戈 (WYI), four-corner 77500)

  1. mother
  2. female elders
  3. female

Derived characters[edit]

Descendants[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • KangXi: page 588, character 25
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 16723
  • Dae Jaweon: page 980, character 32
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 4, page 2380, character 3
  • Unihan data for U+6BCD

Cantonese[edit]

Hanzi[edit]

(Yale mou5)


Japanese[edit]

Kanji[edit]

(grade 2 “Kyōiku” kanji)

Readings[edit]

Compounds[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

In isolation, the character has 5 strokes in modern Japanese – it is not simplified. In shinjitai compound characters, such as or , it is simplified to 4 strokes, as , but this simplification is not used in isolation. In hyōgaiji characters such as , however, the component is not simplified.

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Old Japanese. /haha/: */papa/ > /fafa/ > /fawa/ > /fafa/ > /haha/

Medial /-f/ [ɸ] regularly changes to /w/ [ɰᵝ], resulting in /fawa/ > /hawa/, the expected final form; see hawa below. This form first appears in the Heian period. However, likely due to spelling influence or reduplication associations, the earlier /fafa/ resurfaced in the late 16th century towards the end of the Muromachi period, with both forms seen until recent times, when hawa falls into disuse.[1] Initial /f-/ [ɸ] regularly becomes [h], resulting in modern [ha̠ha̠].

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana はは, romaji haha)

  1. (humble) mother
    • 931-938: Wamyō Ruijushō (book 1 page 116)
      母 尔雅云、母爲妣、卑履反、去聲之重、和名波々、日本紀私記云、以路波
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 196)
      Fafa. l, faua. ハハ. または、ハワ(母) 母.
Usage notes[edit]

Only ever used to refer to one's own mother when speaking to someone else. Still widely used in modern Japanese.

Antonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old Japanese. See etymology for haha above for details.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana はわ, romaji hawa)

  1. (humble) mother
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 213)
      Faua. ハワ (母) 母親.
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 196)
      Fafa. l, faua. ハハ. または、ハワ(母) 母.
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 71)
      Caca. カカ (かか) Faua (母)に同じ. 母. これは子供の言葉である. また、尊敬すべき婦人、あるいは、年長で一家の主婦のような婦人の意に取られる.
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 60)
      Bogui. ボギ (母儀) Faua (母)に同じ. 母.
Usage notes[edit]

Obsolete in mainstream Japanese. May persist in dialects.

Etymology 3[edit]

Old Japanese. Possibly an abbreviation of haha, or possibly the original form.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana , romaji ha)

  1. (obsolete) mother
    • 931-938: Wamyō Ruijushō (book 1 page 116)
      母 尔雅云、母爲妣、卑履反、去聲之重、和名波々、日本紀私記云、以路
Usage notes[edit]

Not found in isolation, only found in compounds. Obsolete and unused in modern Japanese.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Old Japanese. Obsolete and unused in modern Japanese. Already falling into disuse by the writing of the Man'yōshū in 759, where it is only found in pieces written in eastern dialects.[1] Possibly cognate with Korean 엄마 (eomma, mother), 어머니 (eomeoni, mother).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana あも, romaji amo)

  1. mother
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4376)
      多妣由岐尓 由久等之良受弖 阿母志々尓 己等麻乎佐受弖 伊麻叙久夜之氣
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4377)
      阿母刀自母 多麻尓母賀母夜 伊多太伎弖 美都良乃奈可尓 阿敝麻可麻久母
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4378)
      都久比夜波 須具波由氣等毛 阿母志々可 多麻乃須我多波 和須例西奈布母
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4383)
      都乃久尓乃 宇美能奈伎佐尓 布奈餘曽比 多志埿毛等伎尓 阿母我米母我母
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 5[edit]

Old Japanese. Obsolete and unused in modern Japanese. Appears to be an alteration from amo above.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana おも, romaji omo)

  1. mother
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4386)
      和加々都乃 以都母等夜奈枳 以都母々々々 於母加古比須々 奈理麻之都之母
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4401)
      可良己呂武 須宗尓等里都伎 奈苦古良乎 意伎弖曽伎怒也 意母奈之尓志弖
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 20, poem #4402)
      知波夜布留 賀美乃美佐賀尓 奴佐麻都里 伊波布伊能知波 意毛知々我多米
  2. a woman who breastfeeds and raises a child in place of a parent: a wet nurse
    • c. 759: Man'yōshū (book 12, poem #2925)
      緑児之 為社乳母者 求云 乳飲哉君之 於毛求覧
Derived terms[edit]
Synonyms[edit]

Etymology 6[edit]

Unknown. One theory holds that this is a corrupted and abbreviated form of 御方様 (​okatasama), a term to refer to or address someone else's wife (now extremely formal, but much more everyday in the Edo period), possibly influenced by children's speech:

/okatasama/ > /katasama/ > /kakasama/ > /kaka/

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana かか, romaji kaka)

  1. (childish) mommy, mummy
    • 16031604: Nippo Jisho (page 71)
      Caca. カカ (かか) Faua (母)に同じ. 母. これは子供の言葉である. また、尊敬すべき婦人、あるいは、年長で一家の主婦のような婦人の意に取られる.
  2. (obsolete) wife
    Seen in the Edo period among the lower socioeconomic classes. Used to refer both to one's own wife when talking to others, and to refer to someone else's wife.[1]
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 7[edit]

Alteration of kaka[1]: /kaka/ > /-kka/ > /kaː/

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

(hiragana かあ, romaji )

  1. mother
Usage notes[edit]

Almost never seen in isolation. Most commonly seen with honorific prefix o- and honorific suffix -san, as お母さん (​okāsan).

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, ISBN 978-4-14-011112-3

Korean[edit]

Hanja[edit]

(mo)
Eumhun:

  • Sound (hangeul):  (revised: mo, McCune-Reischauer: mo, Yale: mo)
  • Name (hangeul): 어미 (revised: eomi, McCune-Reischauer: ŏmi, Yale: emi)

Mandarin[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Hanzi[edit]

(Pinyin (mu3), Wade-Giles mu3)

Usage notes[edit]

For the meaning of female, "母" collocates with nouns of animals but not human. E.g. 母(female) + (sheep)->母羊 (ewe)

Compounds[edit]


Vietnamese[edit]

Han character[edit]

(mẫu, mẹ)