Every weekday morning, a young mother and daughter get on the downtown bus. The little girl is about two and a half years old. They sit down and the little girl gets situated. Then she looks up at her mom, and the mom says "ok" and hugs her daughter up into her lap. The mom has nice strong hands and she holds her daughter lightly with her right hand over her daughter's tummy. The picture of the mom's right hand resting gently on her daughter's tummy is "mother."

The name for Nintendo's Earthbound games in some markets. The first one (called Mother) was on Nintendo's 8-bit Famicom console and was not released outside of Japan, presumably because the developers had trouble rearranging the screen to account for the larger size in ROM of English text (most NES games were under half a megabyte). Mother 2, OTOH, was released as Earthbound on the SNES; it seems Nintendo had developed better i18n coding practices by then.

Also short for motherfucker.
Winesburg, Ohio
A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life
by Sherwood Anderson (1876 - 1941)


ELIZABETH WILLARD, the mother of George Willard, was tall and gaunt and her face was marked with smallpox scars. Although she was but forty-five, some obscure disease had taken the fire out of her figure. Listlessly she went about the disorderly old hotel looking at the faded wall-paper and the ragged carpets and, when she was able to be about, doing the work of a chambermaid among beds soiled by the slumbers of fat traveling men. Her husband, Tom Willard, a slender, graceful man with square shoulders, a quick military step, and a black mustache trained to turn sharply up at the ends, tried to put the wife out of his mind. The presence of the tall ghostly figure, moving slowly through the halls, he took as a reproach to himself. When he thought of her he grew angry and swore. The hotel was unprofitable and forever on the edge of failure and he wished himself out of it. He thought of the old house and the woman who lived there with him as things defeated and done for. The hotel in which he had begun life so hopefully was now a mere ghost of what a hotel should be. As he went spruce and business-like through the streets of Winesburg, he sometimes stopped and turned quickly about as though fearing that the spirit of the hotel and of the woman would follow him even into the streets. “Damn such a life, damn it!” he sputtered aimlessly.

Tom Willard had a passion for village politics and for years had been the leading Democrat in a strongly Republican community. Some day, he told himself, the tide of things political will turn in my favor and the years of ineffectual service count big in the bestowal of rewards. He dreamed of going to Congress and even of becoming governor. Once when a younger member of the party arose at a political conference and began to boast of his faithful service, Tom Willard grew white with fury. “Shut up, you,” he roared, glaring about. “What do you know of service? What are you but a boy? Look at what I’ve done here! I was a Democrat here in Winesburg when it was a crime to be a Democrat. In the old days they fairly hunted us with guns.”

Between Elizabeth and her one son George there was a deep unexpressed bond of sympathy, based on a girlhood dream that had long ago died. In the son’s presence she was timid and reserved, but sometimes while he hurried about town intent upon his duties as a reporter, she went into his room and closing the door knelt by a little desk, made of a kitchen table, that sat near a window. In the room by the desk she went through a ceremony that was half a prayer, half a demand, addressed to the skies. In the boyish figure she yearned to see something half forgotten that had once been a part of herself re-created. The prayer concerned that. “Even though I die, I will in some way keep defeat from you,” she cried, and so deep was her determination that her whole body shook. Her eyes glowed and she clenched her fists. “If I am dead and see him becoming a meaningless drab figure like myself, I will come back,” she declared. “I ask God now to give me that privilege. I demand it. I will pay for it. God may beat me with his fists. I will take any blow that may befall if but this my boy be allowed to express something for us both.” Pausing uncertainly, the woman stared about the boy’s room. “And do not let him become smart and successful either,” she added vaguely.

The communion between George Willard and his mother was outwardly a formal thing without meaning. When she was ill and sat by the window in her room he sometimes went in the evening to make her a visit. They sat by a window that looked over the roof of a small frame building into Main Street. By turning their heads they could see through another window, along an alleyway that ran behind the Main Street stores and into the back door of Abner Groff’s bakery. Sometimes as they sat thus a picture of village life presented itself to them. At the back door of his shop appeared Abner Groff with a stick or an empty milk bottle in his hand. For a long time there was a feud between the baker and a grey cat that belonged to Sylvester West, the druggist. The boy and his mother saw the cat creep into the door of the bakery and presently emerge followed by the baker, who swore and waved his arms about. The baker’s eyes were small and red and his black hair and beard were filled with flour dust. Sometimes he was so angry that, although the cat had disappeared, he hurled sticks, bits of broken glass, and even some of the tools of his trade about. Once he broke a window at the back of Sinning’s Hardware Store. In the alley the grey cat crouched behind barrels filled with torn paper and broken bottles above which flew a black swarm of flies. Once when she was alone, and after watching a prolonged and ineffectual outburst on the part of the baker, Elizabeth Willard put her head down on her long white hands and wept. After that she did not look along the alleyway any more, but tried to forget the contest between the bearded man and the cat. It seemed like a rehearsal of her own life, terrible in its vividness.

In the evening when the son sat in the room with his mother, the silence made them both feel awkward. Darkness came on and the evening train came in at the station. In the street below feet tramped up and down upon a board sidewalk. In the station yard, after the evening train had gone, there was a heavy silence. Perhaps Skinner Leason, the express agent, moved a truck the length of the station platform. Over on Main Street sounded a man’s voice, laughing. The door of the express office banged. George Willard arose and crossing the room fumbled for the doorknob. Sometimes he knocked against a chair, making it scrape along the floor. By the window sat the sick woman, perfectly still, listless. Her long hands, white and bloodless, could be seen drooping over the ends of the arms of the chair. “I think you had better be out among the boys. You are too much indoors,” she said, striving to relieve the embarrassment of the departure. “I thought I would take a walk,” replied George Willard, who felt awkward and confused.

One evening in July, when the transient guests who made the New Willard House their temporary home had become scarce, and the hallways, lighted only by kerosene lamps turned low, were plunged in gloom, Elizabeth Willard had an adventure. She had been ill in bed for several days and her son had not come to visit her. She was alarmed. The feeble blaze of life that remained in her body was blown into a flame by her anxiety and she crept out of bed, dressed and hurried along the hallway toward her son’s room, shaking with exaggerated fears. As she went along she steadied herself with her hand, slipped along the papered walls of the hall and breathed with difficulty. The air whistled through her teeth. As she hurried forward she thought how foolish she was. “He is concerned with boyish affairs,” she told herself. “Perhaps he has now begun to walk about in the evening with girls.”

Elizabeth Willard had a dread of being seen by guests in the hotel that had once belonged to her father and the ownership of which still stood recorded in her name in the county courthouse. The hotel was continually losing patronage because of its shabbiness and she thought of herself as also shabby. Her own room was in an obscure corner and when she felt able to work she voluntarily worked among the beds, preferring the labor that could be done when the guests were abroad seeking trade among the merchants of Winesburg.

By the door of her son’s room the mother knelt upon the floor and listened for some sound from within. When she heard the boy moving about and talking in low tones a smile came to her lips. George Willard had a habit of talking aloud to himself and to hear him doing so had always given his mother a peculiar pleasure. The habit in him, she felt, strengthened the secret bond that existed between them. A thousand times she had whispered to herself of the matter. “He is groping about, trying to find himself,” she thought. “He is not a dull clod, all words and smartness. Within him there is a secret something that is striving to grow. It is the thing I let be killed in myself.”

In the darkness in the hallway by the door the sick woman arose and started again toward her own room. She was afraid that the door would open and the boy come upon her. When she had reached a safe distance and was about to turn a corner into a second hallway she stopped and bracing herself with her hands waited, thinking to shake off a trembling fit of weakness that had come upon her. The presence of the boy in the room had made her happy. In her bed, during the long hours alone, the little fears that had visited her had become giants. Now they were all gone. “When I get back to my room I shall sleep,” she murmured gratefully. But Elizabeth Willard was not to return to her bed and to sleep. As she stood trembling in the darkness the door of her son’s room opened and the boy’s father, Tom Willard, stepped out. In the light that steamed out at the door he stood with the knob in his hand and talked. What he said infuriated the woman. Tom Willard was ambitious for his son. He had always thought of himself as a successful man, although nothing he had ever done had turned out successfully. However, when he was out of sight of the New Willard House and had no fear of coming upon his wife, he swaggered and began to dramatize himself as one of the chief men of the town. He wanted his son to succeed. He it was who had secured for the boy the position on the Winesburg Eagle. Now, with a ring of earnestness in his voice, he was advising concerning some course of conduct. “I tell you what, George, you’ve got to wake up,” he said sharply. “Will Henderson has spoken to me three times concerning the matter. He says you go along for hours not hearing when you are spoken to and acting like a gawky girl. What ails you?” Tom Willard laughed good-naturedly. “Well, I guess you’ll get over it,” he said. “I told Will that. You’re not a fool and you’re not a woman. You’re Tom Willard’s son and you’ll wake up. I’m not afraid. What you say clears things up. If being a newspaper man had put the notion of becoming a writer into your mind that’s all right. Only I guess you’ll have to wake up to do that too, eh?” Tom Willard went briskly along the hallway and down a flight of stairs to the office. The woman in the darkness could hear him laughing and talking with a guest who was striving to wear away a dull evening by dozing in a chair by the office door. She returned to the door of her son’s room. The weakness had passed from her body as by a miracle and she stepped boldly along. A thousand ideas raced through her head. When she heard the scraping of a chair and the sound of a pen scratching upon paper, she again turned and went back along the hallway to her own room. A definite determination had come into the mind of the defeated wife of the Winesburg hotel keeper. The determination was the result of long years of quiet and rather ineffectual thinking. “Now,” she told herself, “I will act. There is something threatening my boy and I will ward it off.” The fact that the conversation between Tom Willard and his son had been rather quiet and natural, as though an understanding existed between them, maddened her. Although for years she had hated her husband, her hatred had always before been a quite impersonal thing. He had been merely a part of something else that she hated. Now, and by the few words at the door, he had become the thing personified. In the darkness of her own room she clenched her fists and glared about. Going to a cloth bag that hung on a nail by the wall she took out a long pair of sewing scissors and held them in her hand like a dagger. “I will stab him,” she said aloud. “He has chosen to be the voice of evil and I will kill him. When I have killed him something will snap within myself and I will die also. It will be a release for all of us.” In her girlhood and before her marriage with Tom Willard, Elizabeth had borne a somewhat shaky reputation in Winesburg. For years she had been what is called “stage-struck” and had paraded through the streets with traveling men guests at her father’s hotel, wearing loud clothes and urging them to tell her of life in the cities out of which they had come. Once she startled the town by putting on men’s clothes and riding a bicycle down Main Street. In her own mind the tall dark girl had been in those days much confused. A great restlessness was in her and it expressed itself in two ways. First there was an uneasy desire for change, for some big definite movement to her life. It was this feeling that had turned her mind to the stage. She dreamed of joining some company and wandering over the world, seeing always new faces and giving something out of herself to all people. Sometimes at night she was quite beside herself with the thought, but when she tried to talk of the matter to the members of the theatrical companies that came to Winesburg and stopped at her father’s hotel, she got nowhere. They did not seem to know what she meant, or if she did get something of her passion expressed, they only laughed. “It’s not like that,” they said. “It’s as dull and uninteresting as this here. Nothing comes of it.” With the traveling men when she walked about with them, and later with Tom Willard, it was quite different. Always they seemed to understand and sympathize with her. On the side streets of the village, in the darkness under the trees, they took hold of her hand and she thought that something unexpressed in herself came forth and became a part of an unexpressed something in them. And then there was the second expression of her restlessness. When that came she felt for a time released and happy. She did not blame the men who walked with her and later she did not blame Tom Willard. It was always the same, beginning with kisses and ending, after strange wild emotions, with peace and then sobbing repentance. When she sobbed she put her hand upon the face of the man and had always the same thought. Even though he were large and bearded she thought he had become suddenly a little boy. She wondered why he did not sob also. In her room, tucked away in a corner of the old Willard House, Elizabeth Willard lighted a lamp and put it on a dressing table that stood by the door. A thought had come into her mind and she went to a closet and brought out a small square box and set it on the table. The box contained material for make-up and had been left with other things by a theatrical company that had once been stranded in Winesburg. Elizabeth Willard had decided that she would be beautiful. Her hair was still black and there was a great mass of it braided and coiled about her head. The scene that was to take place in the office below began to grow in her mind. No ghostly worn-out figure should confront Tom Willard, but something quite unexpected and startling. Tall and with dusky cheeks and hair that fell in a mass from her shoulders, a figure should come striding down the stairway before the startled loungers in the hotel office. The figure would be silent—it would be swift and terrible. As a tigress whose cub had been threatened would she appear, coming out of the shadows, stealing noiselessly along and holding the long wicked scissors in her hand. With a little broken sob in her throat, Elizabeth Willard blew out the light that stood upon the table and stood weak and trembling in the darkness. The strength that had been as a miracle in her body left and she half reeled across the floor, clutching at the back of the chair in which she had spent so many long days staring out over the tin roofs into the main street of Winesburg. In the hallway there was the sound of footsteps and George Willard came in at the door. Sitting in a chair beside his mother he began to talk. “I’m going to get out of here,” he said. “I don’t know where I shall go or what I shall do but I am going away.”

The woman in the chair waited and trembled. An impulse came to her. “I suppose you had better wake up,” she said. “You think that? You will go to the city and make money, eh? It will be better for you, you think, to be a business man, to be brisk and smart and alive?” She waited and trembled.

The son shook his head. “I suppose I can’t make you understand, but oh, I wish I could,” he said earnestly. “I can’t even talk to father about it. I don’t try. There isn’t any use. I don’t know what I shall do. I just want to go away and look at people and think.”

Silence fell upon the room where the boy and woman sat together. Again, as on the other evenings, they were embarrassed. After a time the boy tried again to talk. “I suppose it won’t be for a year or two but I’ve been thinking about it,” he said, rising and going toward the door. “Something father said makes it sure that I shall have to go away.” He fumbled with the doorknob. In the room the silence became unbearable to the woman. She wanted to cry out with joy because of the words that had come from the lips of her son, but the expression of joy had become impossible to her. “I think you had better go out among the boys. You are too much indoors,” she said. “I thought I would go for a little walk,” replied the son stepping awkwardly out of the room and closing the door.

The Book of the Grotesque,   HandsPaper PillsMother and the unnoded sections listed below
were first published in 1919 as part of the book, Winesburg, Ohio and are in the public domain. They were first made available for our reading pleasure as eText by Project Gutenberg in 1996.

CST Approved

I cannot seem to reconcile all the resentment  I once held for my mother. The coals in my heart that I have tried to sear her with, burn me when see her. Had I known her power I may have respected her. Had I seen the way she fought the darkness I would have run to her side like any other child. I was a foolish little girl for pushing her away. What a forgiving woman she is for accepting my love now with open arms. What I once mistook for weakness was in fact an unbreakable strength. I can only hope that I will one day be half of the woman my mother is today. 

My heart aches for her as she slowly reveals the pieces of her she has kept so long hidden. My eyes well up when I think of the pain she has had to endure for the sake of her children. The long years of abuse and deceit she tolerated so that her kids would not see the ever present dangers in their own home. The confidence with which she stood her ground when that danger tore through the paper thin wall of protection. Her unwillingness to let anyone shake her convictions. 

She is not a perfect person, and has allowed irreparable damage to graze me. She has watched as I suffered with her. She has had to make horrific decisions. I do not envy the life she has had. I thank God every day that she is finally tasting the freedom she deserves, though her battle is not over yet. I feel wrong for crying for her. She puts on a brave face for me, but I can see the sadness that pools in her sparkling blue eyes. I can see the way her lips form a thin line when she thinks about him. I can see the agedeness in her face at the very mention of him. What sort of evil could make such a beautiful woman so distraught. I have only glimpsed it, and am scarred for it. If a person were to ask why I have faith all I would need to say is,


"My mother."

When my grandmother died, all ten of my aunts and uncles started sleeping in my grandmother’s living room. It was large and had hard grey marbled floors; to sleep, they rolled in thin mattresses and lined them up together with no gaps in between. They didn’t just sleep there, they spent all day there, crying and praying. Some ate, others quit. When I imagine them in there, I always imagine them sat on their padded floors, swaying in unison like wheat in a field being blown gently by the wind, or at other times I imagine them wailing together like a chorus of spectres – not a harsh or violent sound, but in harmony and sadness, reaching to a pitch and then subsiding.

My grandmother had had ten children. All of them survived childbirth. All of them survived infancy. That was unusual, at the time, in that part of the world, and for home births. I always wondered if she was scared of birthing children like I am. I am sure that she would have been scared. She had grown to be so scared of everything toward the end of her life. Scared of death most of all. And the problem was, you couldn’t talk her out of it because she was right to be scared of it, of course. She was old and she was sick, she had had several strokes. Some were serious and others went unnoticed until a routine check-up at the hospital. Stroke is such a strange word for it. As though God is reaching down and stroking you, but like a clumsy giant he doesn’t realize his strength and injures you instead.

She had had ten children and all of them were into their middle age when she died. Even the youngest was in her 40’s. Her great grandchildren were growing up, the oldest now entering middle school. What do you do, after all that? Just keep going? Wait for this life that you’ve made in your belly to make even more life, and then claim this new life for your own? Do you think of all the blood and skin and hair and memories and hands and hearts that you’ve made from nothing, that came from inside your own body where you didn’t even know that you were making it, and how?

She was a small woman, thin and frail looking. But she was still active, even restless, right up until the day she died. Also: by then she was utterly mad. On her better days she was terrified by the thought her mind was going, and on her demented days she forgot who she was, and thought her youngest son was her long-dead husband, so she spent her days being either confused or scared. So it was best that she went, I think, at the time she did. She had done everything you can in a life. She had had many, many children, she had pierced her ears all along the side and including the small bump of cartilage on the inside of each one. There was no skin left to pierce. She had seen life, death; she had even outlived one of her grandchildren. What else can be done, in the end when you expect life to conclude but it stubbornly doesn’t? You sort of wait. I imagine muzak in the background.

When my mother called me to tell me that my grandmother had died I was at uni. I live away. Videsh. That’s what they call it. ‘Out of the country.’ I grew up videsh, and never lived in the place my grandmother gave birth to the person who gave birth to me. I saw my grandmother almost never. Whenever she saw me I thought she looked reproachful, as though somehow I was responsible for my parents migrating and never coming back. Sometimes I felt like we were vying for the rightful ownership of my mother, and most of the time I thought my grandmother won. Which is strange considering she gave birth to me, sort of, once removed. My mother is an expansive woman, as petite as I am, and her stomach is like buttermilk, pale and cool. I can see how she could create something in there. Comfortably. But my grandmother was small and dark, her stomach was rough and paper-like. How did she make that buttermilk? There was a disconnection there. So I never really felt that my grandmother made my mother, and so somehow made me. But I know she did because I know she wasn’t sleeping with anyone but my grandfather because it is just impossible to have sexual affairs like that when you live in a giant house surrounded by hordes of your own children, relatives, servants and god knows who else.

First I received a text. Nani is dead. When I got the text, my immediate thought was that I didn’t know how I felt. I asked myself, almost immediately ‘how do I feel?’ and I thought ‘I don’t know’. I don’t know was how I felt. The apparent seriousness of what had happened was in quick conflict with the question mark I felt almost before I finished reading the text. So I was feeling I don’t know but my mother was feeling something very very definite. And it was something that I recognized. Something I recall from my childhood, when my other grandparents died. When I called her she was already talking in that sing-song moan of grief that meant that something catastrophic had occurred. It was speech that was also a cry, and it meant that the crying didn’t have to stop while speech occurred. It is intensely uncomfortable to hear, almost like something prohibited like when you accidentally hear your parents having sex. But this was something that you should hear, that is meant to be heard, so I listened as she cried/sang into my ear about what had happened. And like when a line from a song asks a rhetorical question, so too did she answer all of hers herself without paying any mind to what I said in reply. I soon cried from hearing her crying, although a part of me wondered if I was really crying because I felt I had to and I should do.

“You should be with people, are you with people?”

“No mum, I mean, yes, I am at university.”

“You should tell people at university, what am I going to do what am I going to do?”

“Mum, it happened how it should, it happened like it ought to have, she was old and she was sick. A heart attack was sudden and not drawn out. It was the best way.”

“She’s with God now, God has taken her, my mother my mother, oh my daughter my mother…”

She wailed in hindi and I answered in English. She cried in hindi and I cried in English.

This is the first and only time I can recall my mother ever hanging up the phone on me without saying goodbye. I felt acutely abandoned, something I increasingly felt around both of my parents. As they aged, they were becoming like teenagers in cahoots. Against the world, together, turning each other against everyone else, except one another, unreachable in the way children are when they play secret games with each other, or speak in made-up languages to one another. After my mother hung up on me, I sat with the phone in my lap and thought about what to do next. I was crying, but I wasn’t thinking about my grandmother. My grandmother doesn’t exist, and she never existed for me. She existed for my mother, in some larger than life way that I don’t even really have an analogue for because my mother revered my grandmother and I don’t revere my mother. My grandmother occupied some promethean space in my family tree but I was so far removed from her that I can barely conjure any memories about her, let alone something tender. I was crying because I had just heard my mother crying and that will make you cry nine times out of ten and you aren’t even sure why.

I don’t really remember much else from the day my grandmother left. I remember still-frame images instead of moving pictures. The face of a classmate as I explain my hesitant tears. Her milky face punctured by the round O of her mouth, a black hole in a pale white oval, as she haltingly backs away from my obvious display of grief. The lecture that I had rushed out of when I received the news. A woman was discussing art made of meat. There was talk of a meat dress, and at the time I thought that a meat dress sounded cool and heavy, slippery but protective. She had gone on after a woman who had discussed the work of a performance artist who pulled yarn from her vagina and knitted them together with long dangerous-looking needles, while a camera filmed her unblinking, unsmiling face.

I remember the first cigarette after the rush of embarrassment I felt when I realized that I shouldn’t be crying at uni drove me out of the building. The path outside stretches through the campus like a spine. It curves snake-like through a scattering of buildings, connecting disparate departments and faculties together. I remember a woman and her daughter, anxious looks of being lost on their faces. They were looking for a prospective student event, in the biology department. They were late, they had traveled a long way to be here, and the event had started 15 minutes ago. They asked me for directions. I do not know where their building is, but I say I do anyway. I direct the woman and her daughter to turn left and follow the path until it disappears around the corner. The daughter and the woman stop looking worried, and instead look relieved that their destination is almost within sight. I accept their grateful sighs and watch them stride determinedly away. I stub out my cigarette and I go back inside.

Moth"er (?), n. [OE. moder, AS. modor; akin to D. moeder, OS. modar, G. mutter, OHG. muotar, Icel. mo&edh;ir, Dan. & Sw. moder, OSlav. mati, Russ. mate, Ir. & Gael. mathair, L. mater, Gr. mh`thr, Skr. mat&rsdot;; cf. Skr. ma to measure. 268. Cf. Material, Matrix, Metropolis, Father.]


A female parent; especially, one of the human race; a woman who has borne a child.


That which has produced or nurtured anything; source of birth or origin; generatrix.

Alas! poor country! ... it can not Be called our mother, but our grave. Shak.

I behold ... the solitary majesty of Crete, mother of a religion, it is said, that lived two thousand years. Landor.


An old woman or matron.



The female superior or head of a religious house, as an abbess, etc.


Hysterical passion; hysteria.



Mother Carey's chicken Zool., any one of several species of small petrels, as the stormy petrel (Procellaria pelagica), and Leach's petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa), both of the Atlantic, and O. furcata of the North Pacific. -- Mother Carey's goose Zool., the giant fulmar of the Pacific. See Fulmar. -- Mother's mark Med., a congenital mark upon the body; a naevus.


© Webster 1913.

Moth"er, a.

Received by birth or from ancestors; native, natural; as, mother language; also acting the part, or having the place of a mother; producing others; originating.

It is the mother falsehood from which all idolatry is derived. T. Arnold.

Mother cell Biol., a cell which, by endogenous divisions, gives rise to other cells (daughter cells); a parent cell. -- Mother church, the original church; a church from which other churches have sprung; as, the mother church of a diocese. -- Mother country, the country of one's parents or ancestors; the country from which the people of a colony derive their origin. -- Mother liquor Chem., the impure or complex residual solution which remains after the salts readily or regularly crystallizing have been removed. -- Mother queen, the mother of a reigning sovereign; a queen mother. -- Mother tongue. (a) A language from which another language has had its origin. (b) The language of one's native land; native tongue. -- Mother water. See Mother liquor (above). -- Mother wit, natural or native wit or intelligence.


© Webster 1913.

Moth"er, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Mothered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Mothering.]

To adopt as a son or daughter; to perform the duties of a mother to.

The queen, to have put lady Elizabeth besides the crown, would have mothered another body's child. Howell.


© Webster 1913.

Moth"er, n. [Akin to D. modder mud, G. moder mold, mud, Dan. mudder mud, and to E. mud. See Mud.]

A film or membrane which is developed on the surface of fermented alcoholic liquids, such as vinegar, wine, etc., and acts as a means of conveying the oxygen of the air to the alcohol and other combustible principles of the liquid, thus leading to their oxidation.

⇒ The film is composed of a mass of rapidly developing microorganisms of the genus Mycoderma, and in the mother of vinegar the microorganisms (Mycoderma aceti) composing the film are the active agents in the Conversion of the alcohol into vinegar. When thickened by growth, the film may settle to the bottom of the fluid. See Acetous fermentation, under Fermentation.


© Webster 1913.

Moth"er, v. i.

To become like, or full of, mother, or thick matter, as vinegar.


© Webster 1913.

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