AskDefine | Define mum

Dictionary Definition

mum adj : failing to speak or communicate etc when expected to; "the witness remained silent" [syn: silent]


2 informal terms for a mother [syn: ma, mama, mamma, mom, momma, mommy, mammy, mummy, mater]
3 secrecy; "mum's the word" [also: mumming, mummed]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  • /mʌm/
  • Rhymes with: -ʌm


  1. Mother.

Usage notes

Mum is only capitalised when used as a proper noun:
  • I don't think Mum likes my new car.
  • I don't think my mum will like you.




Informal word for mother


  1. silent.
  2. secret.

Derived terms


  1. stop speaking!


  1. to act in a pantomime or dumb show



  1. candle


Extensive Definition

"Mom", "Mum", and "Mommy" redirect here. For other uses, see Mom (disambiguation), Mum (disambiguation) and Mommy (disambiguation).
A mother is a biological and/or social female parent of an offspring. In the case of a mammal such as a human, the biological mother gestates a fertilized ovum, which is called first an embryo, and then a fetus. This gestation occurs in the mother's uterus from conception until the fetus is sufficiently developed to be born. The mother then goes into labor and gives birth. Once the child is born, the mother produces milk in a process called lactation to feed the child; often the mother's breast milk is the child's sole nourishment for the first year or more of the child's life.
The title mother is often given to a woman other than the biological parent, if it is she who fulfills the social role. This is most commonly either an adoptive mother or a stepmother (the biologically unrelated wife of a child's father). Currently, with advances in reproductive technologies, the function of biological motherhood can be split between the genetic mother (who provides the ovum) and the gestational mother (who carries the pregnancy), and in theory neither might be the social mother (the one who brings up the child).
Mothers have historically fulfilled the primary role in the raising of children, but since the late 20th century, the role of the father in child care has been given greater prominence in most Western countries.
The experience of motherhood varies greatly depending upon location. The organization Save the Children has ranked the countries of the world, and found that Scandinavian countries are the best places to be a mother, whereas countries in sub-Saharan Africa are the worst. A mother in the bottom 10 countries is over 750 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth, compared to a mother in the top 10 countries, and a mother in the bottom 10 countries is 28 times more likely to see her child die before reaching his or her first birthday.

Synonyms and translations

Familiar or colloquial terms for mother in English are:
  • mom or mommy, in most of North America (especially the U.S.). It is used widely in the West Midlands, in the UK.
  • mum or mummy, is used in the UK, Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Ma, Mam or Mammy is used in Ireland and sometimes in the UK.
  • "mama" is used in many countries, but is considered a Spanish form of "mother"
  • In many other languages, similar pronunciations apply; mama in Polish and Slovak, māma in Mandarin Chinese, máma in Czech, maman in French, mamma in Italian, or mãe in Portuguese. Mama, borrowed from the English, is in common use in Japan. In Hebrew the word is eema (אמא), and in many south Asian cultures and the Middle East the mother is known as amma or oma or ammi or "ummi", or variations thereof. Many times these terms denote affection or a maternal role in a child's life.

Legendary & mythological mothers


mum in Afrikaans: Moeder
mum in Arabic: أم
mum in Aragonese: Mai
mum in Aymara: Tayka
mum in Bengali: মা
mum in Bosnian: Majka
mum in Breton: Mamm
mum in Bulgarian: Майка
mum in Catalan: Mare
mum in Czech: Matka
mum in German: Mutter
mum in Estonian: Ema
mum in Spanish: Madre
mum in Esperanto: Patrino
mum in French: Mère
mum in Korean: 어머니
mum in Italian: Madre
mum in Kannada: ತಾಯಿ
mum in Kinyarwanda: Mama
mum in Latin: Mater
mum in Lithuanian: Mama
mum in Ligurian: Moæ
mum in Malagasy: Reny
mum in Malayalam: അമ്മ
mum in Marathi: आई
mum in Dutch: Moeder
mum in Dutch Low Saxon: Moor (meens)
mum in Newari: आमा
mum in Japanese: 母親
mum in Norwegian: Mor
mum in Norwegian Nynorsk: Mor
mum in Portuguese: Mãe
mum in Romanian: Mamă
mum in Simple English: Mother
mum in Slovak: Matka (biológia)
mum in Serbian: Мајка
mum in Finnish: Äiti
mum in Swedish: Mor
mum in Tamil: தாய்
mum in Telugu: తల్లి
mum in Thai: แม่
mum in Cherokee: ᎤᏂᏥ
mum in Turkish: Anne
mum in Ukrainian: Мати
mum in Yiddish: מוטער
mum in Contenese: 阿媽
mum in Chinese: 母親

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

anaudic, aphasic, aphonic, breathless, brief, brusque, close, close-tongued, closemouthed, concise, curt, dumb, dumbfounded, dumbstricken, dumbstruck, economical of words, inarticulate, indisposed to talk, laconic, ma, mam, mama, mammy, mater, mom, mommy, mummy, mute, old woman, quiet, short, silent, snug, sparing of words, speechless, stricken dumb, taciturn, terse, tight-lipped, tongue-tied, tongueless, unloquacious, untalkative, voiceless, word-bound, wordless
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