be mother

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Alternative forms[edit]


Pouring tea is traditionally the mother's role in a family setting.


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be mother (no third-person singular simple present, present participle being mother, no simple past, past participle been mother)

  1. (idiomatic, Britain) To pour out tea for others.
    Ah, here are the cakes and tea; shall I be mother?
    • 2009, Kate Atkinson, When Will There Be Good News?, page 277:
      They went to a cafe and had afternoon tea.
      'Shall l be mother?' Marcus said, lifting a utilitarian brown teapot, all cosied up in something that looked like a bobble hat.
    • 2012, Betty Neels, The Final Touch:
      'Be mother, will you, Charity? Teile and Letizia have a watered-down version.'
      So they had a pleasant tea, although Charity kept an anxious eye on the clock, keen not to outstay her welcome.


See also[edit]