motherless

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English moderles, from Old English mōdorlēas, from Proto-Germanic *mōdērlausaz, equivalent to mother +‎ -less. Cognate with Saterland Frisian muurloos (motherless), Dutch moederloos (motherless), German mutterlos (motherless), Danish moderløs (motherless), Swedish moderlös (motherless), Icelandic móðurlaus (motherless).

Adjective[edit]

motherless (not comparable)

  1. Without a (living) mother.
  2. Without mother (mucilaginous substance in fermenting liquid).
    • 1997, Good Housekeeping, volume 225, page 132:
      Once the bottle is opened, the starter may develop again if the vinegar is in your cupboard for awhile. If its appearance bothers you, strain the vinegar through several layers of cheesecloth into a sterilized bottle. Motherless or not, vinegar has [...]
    • 2014, Bill Collins, Making & Using Vinegar: Recipes That Celebrate Vinegar, page 4:
      A number of things along the way, such as temperature fluctuations, bacteria, and dust in the air, can derail and ruin a motherless vinegar. But if you use a mother, [...]
  3. (figuratively) Without a history or predecessor.
    • 2009, Charles S. Peirce, Writings of Charles S. Peirce, ISBN 0253004217:
      Although there had been some previous attempts in the same direction, Boole's idea by no means grew from what other men had conceived, but, as truly as any mental product may, sprang from the brain of genius, motherless.
    • 2014, Pauline Shypula, A Motherless Tongue: The Experience of Second Generation Americans:
    • 2015, Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes ISBN 0804187797, page 192:
      So in an inclusive act of recognition, here's our goopy take on this motherless dish—a mash-up of all your food-court chickens, be they sweet 'n' sour, sesame[.]

Hypernyms[edit]

Coordinate terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

motherless (comparative more motherless, superlative most motherless)

  1. (South Africa, Australia, slang) very, completely (especially in reference to drunkenness)
    • 2009, Bryce Courtenay, The Story Of Danny Dunn:
      At the wake, held at her old pub, Brenda watched as her sisters, brothers-in-law and several nieces and nephews got motherless drunk, then summoned a taxi to take them all home in two separate trips.

See also[edit]