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Jun 9, 2021
This week’s theme
Words coined after nursery rhymes

This week’s words
Humpty Dumpty
tuffet
Mother Hubbard
sukey
Simple Simon

Mother Hubbard
Illustration: Alfred Kappes
Mother Goose’s Melodies, 1879

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Mother Hubbard

PRONUNCIATION:
(MUHTH-uhr HUHB-uhrd)

MEANING:
noun: A loose shapeless dress for a woman.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Mother Hubbard, a character in the nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard”. Earliest documented use: 1877.

NOTES:
“Old Mother Hubbard” is a nursery poem which details adventures of Mother Hubbard and her dog. In illustrations she’s depicted as wearing a loose-fitting unbelted gown. The first stanza of the poem goes:
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the Cupboard,
To give the poor Dog a bone;
When she came there,
The Cupboard was bare,
And so the poor Dog had none.

USAGE:
“She wore loose Mother Hubbard of gray cloth in which there had once been colored flowers, but the color was washed out now.”
John Steinbeck; The Grapes of Wrath; Viking; 1939.

See more usage examples of Mother Hubbard in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Live and let live, be and let be, / Hear and let hear, see and let see, / Sing and let sing, dance and let dance. ... Live and let live and remember this line: / "Your bus'ness is your bus'ness and my bus'ness is mine." -Cole Porter, composer and songwriter (9 Jun 1893-1964)

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