Mother Idioms: 16 Useful Phrases and Idioms about Mothers

As we celebrate Mother’s Day and honor the women who have played a significant role in our lives, it’s worth noting the many idioms and phrases that pay tribute to mothers. Idioms are expressions that convey a figurative meaning, often rooted in cultural or historical contexts. In the English language, there are numerous idioms about mothers that reflect the unique and important role they play in our lives.

List of Idioms about Mothers

  • A face only a mother could love
  • A mama’s boy
  • A mother hen
  • A tiger mother
  • At one’s mother’s knee
  • Be tied to (one’s) mother’s apron strings
  • Everyone and his mother
  • Expectant mother
  • Experience is the mother of wisdom
  • He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin
  • Like mother, like daughter
  • Mother house
  • Mother Nature
  • Mother’s milk
  • The mother of all (something)
  • To keep mum

Idioms about Mothers | Mother Idioms and Phrases | Image

Idioms about Mothers | Mother Idioms and Phrases | ImagePin

Idioms about Mother with Meaning and Examples

A face only a mother could love

  • Meaning: A very ugly face
  • Example: The poor baby has a face only a mother could love.

A mama’s boy

  • Meaning: A boy or man who allows his mother to have too much influence on him.
  • Example: I thought I loved him until I realized he was a mama’s boy who can’t do anything without his mother’s permission or approval.

A mother hen

  • Meaning: A person who looks out for the welfare of others, especially to an overprotective degree
  • Example: Jenny can be a bit of a mother hen when we’re out at the bars.

A tiger mother

  • Meaning: A strict and demanding mother
  • Example: Two new studies do point out that there are costs to tiger mothering.

At one’s mother’s knee

  • Meaning: If you learned to do something when you were a young child.
  • Example: I learned how to bake at my mother’s knee when I was just a girl.

Be tied to (one’s) mother’s apron strings

  • Meaning: An adult is deeply attached and needs his mother. Dating from the era when mothers wore aprons
  • Example: Can you make a decision on your own, or are you tied to your mother’s apron strings?

Everyone and his mother

  • Meaning: Used to express a large number or a majority of people.
  • Example: I’m so jealous, everyone and his mother are going on a vacation this summer except for me.

Expectant mother

  • Meaning: A pregnant woman.
  • Example: I know the subway’s crowded, but you should really give your seat to the expectant mother standing by the door.

Experience is the mother of wisdom

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to mean that people learn from what happens to them.
  • Example: You will never understand the love parents have for their children until you get your own children. Experience is really the mother of wisdom.

He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin

  • Meaning: This is a proverb that means that if you intend to marry a woman, first try to win her mother on your side.
  • Example: Listen, Joe, if you want to marry Nancy, try to impress her mother first and be sure that she is on your side. He that would the daughter win, must with the mother first begin.

Like mother, like daughter

  • Meaning: Daughters tend to do what their mothers did before them.
  • Example: My mother loved sweets, and every time my father saw me with a cookie in my hand, he would sigh, “Like mother, like daughter”.

Mother house

  • Meaning: The principal house in a religious order
  • Example: Just how busy these women were is apparent from comments in the annual handwritten report to the order’s mother house.

Mother Nature

  • Meaning: The force that controls the natural world
  • Example: Look at all the wonders that Mother Nature provides, from fruit and vegetables to beautiful mountains and oceans.

Mother’s milk

  • Meaning: Something necessary and important
  • Example: The bottom line is work and that is mother’s milk to any performer.

The mother of all (something)

  • Meaning: A large collection of a particular type of thing
  • Example: Wow, that is the mother of all sandwiches. It’s a foot high!

To keep mum

  • Meaning: To keep quiet about something
  • Example: He was keeping mum about a possible move to West Ham.

Interactive Exercises

Fill in the blank 

  1. Person 1: “I know he’s not conventionally attractive, but he’s got a great personality.”

Person 2: “Yeah, some people might say he has _____________, but I think he’s great.”

Answer: A face only a mother could love

  1. Person 1: “He still lives with his mom and does everything she says.”

Person2: “Sounds like he’s a bit of _____________. He needs to learn how to be independent.”

Answer: A mama’s boy

  1. Person 1: “She’s always checking up on us and making sure we’re okay.”

Person 2: “Yeah, she’s a bit of a _____________. It can be annoying, but she means well.”

Answer: A mother hen

  1. Person 1: “Her parents are very strict and demanding when it comes to her education.”

Person 2: “Sounds like they’re _____________. They want her to succeed, but their methods might be a bit extreme.”

Answer: A tiger mother

  1. Person 1: “I learned everything I know from my mom. She taught me everything _____________.”

Person 2: “That’s really sweet. It’s great to have a strong bond with your mom and learn from her.”

Answer: At one’s mother’s knee

Family Idioms

List of Family Idioms in English with meaning and examples.