Definition of allomother
: 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
allomotherverb, transitive + intransitive,
allomothering… 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
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:
- 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up allomother? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).