noun al·lo·moth·er \ˈa-lə-ˌmə-thər\

Definition of allomother



  1. :  an individual other than the biological mother of an offspring that performs the functions of a mother (as by caring for an infant temporarily) The allomother suckled the second infant for two and one-half minutes before it was retrieved by its own mother. — Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, The Langurs of Abu: Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction, 1980 … by five months of age, babies spend more time with allomothers than with their own mother … — Claudia R. Valeggia, in Substitute Parents: Biological and Social Perspectives on Alloparenting, 2009


verb, transitive + intransitive,






… older sisters are readily available to allomother their younger siblings … — Bernard Chapais, in Cooperation in Primates and Humans: Mechanisms and Evolution, 2006 Among elephants, allomothering practice did not appear to compensate for direct experience with an offspring. — Phyllis C. Lee, Animal Behaviour, February 1987

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Origin and Etymology of allomother

allo- + 1mother

First Known Use: 1980

Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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