Definition of foster-mother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

British : a device intended to foster young animals: such as
a : a completely enclosed movable heated house and attached run for starting young chicks without a hen
b : a many-nippled nursing bottle for feeding litters of puppies or pigs


transitive verb
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Definition of foster-mother (Entry 2 of 2)

: to serve as the mother of foster-mother three little children— Dorothy C. Fisher

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History and Etymology for foster-mother


foster mother (noun phrase) woman that feeds or brings up another's child, from Middle English foster moder, fostermoder, from Old English fōstormōdor; akin to Old Norse fōstrmōthir woman that feeds or brings up another's child; both from a prehistoric North Germanic-West Germanic compound whose first and second constituents respectively are represented by Old English fōstor food, feeding and by Old English mōdor mother

Transitive verb

foster mother (noun phrase) woman that feeds or brings up another's child

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Cite this Entry

“Foster-mother.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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