moth·​er-in-law ˈmə-t͟hər-ən-ˌlȯ How to pronounce mother-in-law (audio)
plural mothers-in-law ˈmə-t͟hər-zən-ˌlȯ How to pronounce mother-in-law (audio)
: the mother of one's spouse
archaic : stepmother

Examples of mother-in-law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This week, Queen Camilla gave a very sparkling tribute to her late mother-in-law. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2023 Camilla wore bespoke Dior and sentimental jewels for the regal event Queen Camilla opted for French minimalist chic — and her late mother-in-law's jewelry — for a glamorous night at Versailles. Monique Jessen, Peoplemag, 21 Sep. 2023 Maybe the daughter-in-law and son could hire a pet walker to come by the house when the mother-in-law brings her dogs. Annie Lane, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Sep. 2023 My mother-in-law also introduced a kiddush cup with water for Miriam, Moses' sister, to highlight the importance of women's roles during the Passover story, especially in providing hope to the Jewish people. Holly Rizzuto Palker, Parents, 17 Sep. 2023 While serving as the U.S. Consul General in Dubai in 2003, Olson failed to report that his mother-in-law — who was living with him at the time — had received a $60,000 gift of jewelry from the emir of Dubai, court records show. Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2023 The player collapsed during a session of hot yoga at an Orlando studio, his mother-in-law Carolyn Cliett told NBC News. David K. Li, NBC News, 13 Sep. 2023 But beyond being welcomed into a loving home, Isla (Alix West Lefler) has been put to a higher purpose, chiefly by Bobby’s mother-in-law, Faye (Fisher). Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Sep. 2023 My mother-in-law took many vacations with her friends, children and grandchildren. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 10 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mother-in-law.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mother-in-law was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near mother-in-law

Cite this Entry

“Mother-in-law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural mothers-in-law
: the mother of one's husband or wife

More from Merriam-Webster on mother-in-law

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