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From co- +‎ mother-in-law or co-mother +‎ -in-law.


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co-mother-in-law (plural co-mothers-in-law)

  1. (uncommon) The mother of one's children-in-law; that is, the mother-in-law of one's children, or, the mother of one spouse in relation to the parents of the other spouse; either of two or more women whose children marry each other, such as the mother of a bride vis-à-vis the mother of the groom.
    • 1901, Honoré de Balzac, (trans.) Francis MacNamara, The Physiology of Marriage, page 334:
      After dinner, the discerning eye of the co-mother-in-law divines the work of darkness. Your wife also is an expectant mother !
    • 1912, Sarah Grand, Adnam's Orchard, page 508–509:
      She had a right of entrée to the Castle now as prospective co-mother-in-law with the duchess, and made the most of it.
    • 1956, Margaret Mead, New lives for old: cultural transformation—Manus, 1928-1953, page 381:
      [] responded with temper and irritability toward her step-daughter, Anna, who was so demure and so complete a member of the new society, and toward Ngaoli, her co-mother-in-law, gaunt, old, married under the old system, a devoted church member, righteous mother of five children, who fortunately had no complications in her life.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In conversation, the generic "in-law" is generally used, with context left to disambiguate. Once grandchildren are born, the term co-grandmother may be used if the focus is on the relationship through the grandchildren rather than through the married couple.


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