German ‘Mother’ Words Posted by Constanze on Oct 14, 2020 in Language
Guten Tag! In a recent post, I looked at the word Muttermal in detail. Whilst researching that post, it occurred to me how many German words start with the word mother – die Mutter. Some have obvious translations, while others are a little more intriguing. Today I thought I’d give you a handful of these ‘Mutter words’ to have a look at.
First off, die Mutter is the official word for mother or mum/mom in German, but you’ll often hear variations including Mama, Mami, Mutti, Mutterchen, and Mutterlein. Mutterchen and Mutterlein are diminutives, which you may have spotted from their endings – ‘chen’ and ‘lein’. If you’re not familiar with those yet, you can learn about diminutives here.
mutterlos – Motherless
Das Mutterland – motherland
Die Muttersprache – Mother language/mother tongue.
Die Mütterlichkeit – motherliness. If you are motherly, you’re called ‘mütterlich’. You can also be großmütterlich (grandmotherly), or stiefmütterlich (‘step-motherly’), which isn’t actually a good thing; it means ‘neglectful’!
Der Muttermund – This is one of the more interesting ones. Literally ‘mother mouth’ (der Mund- mouth), der Muttermund is the German word for the cervix.
Der Mutterkuchen – Literally ‘mother cake’ (der Kuchen- cake), this is the German word for the placenta (also called die Plazenta). I have an entire post on pregnancy-related words in German where you can learn more words like these- click here to read it.
Die Muttermilch – Literally ‘mother milk’ (die Milch-milk), this is the German word for breast milk.
Das Muttermal – Literally ‘mother sign’ (das Mal is an old word for sign), das Muttermal is the German word for a birthmark/mole. I have an entire post on this word- click here to read more.
Der Muttermord – Matricide. This is another instance where the German language is very literal, as this word directly translates to ‘mother murder’ (der Mord- murder).
mutterseelenallein – This interesting little word breaks down into three: Mutter (mother), Seelen (souls), allein (alone). It is a feeling of extreme loneliness, so bad that it feels as though even your mother has left you. Read more on this word here.
Die Mutter – No, I am not repeating myself! Die Mutter is the German word for mother, yes, but the exact same word also means ‘screw nut’ (this is a short form of die Schraubenmutter). Due to this meaning, there are several other German words that contain the word Mutter, which have nothing to do with motherhood! These include die Mutternfabrik (factory that manufactures screw nuts), and der Mutternschlüssel (wrench/spanner). There are also many words with ‘mutter’ as their suffix, including Nutmutter, Vierkantmutter, and Sechskantmutter – all different types of screws. Interestingly, the plurals of die Mutter (mother) and die Mutter (screw nut) are different: Die Mutter (mother) becomes die Mütter when plural, while die Mutter (screw nut) becomes die Muttern when plural.
Can you think of any other words that start or end with the word Mutter in German? How about ones that start or end with der Vater – father? Let me know in the comments below!
Bis bald (see you soon)!
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