A Mother Knows Best: Definition Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
July 6, 2023

The idiom "a mother knows best" is a nod to the wisdom, intuition, and experience that mothers often possess when it comes to matters concerning their children. It suggests that a mother's advice or judgment is typically the most accurate or beneficial.

In short:

"A mother knows best" implies that a mother, through her inherent wisdom and experience, usually has the most beneficial advice or insights for her children.

What Does "A Mother Knows Best" Mean?

The idiom "a mother knows best" means that a mother's instincts and judgment about her children are usually very accurate. Mothers have a special intuition and insight into their children's lives, needs, and well-being that often proves correct.

Let's break down its key aspects:

  • It affirms the wisdom and intuition that mothers develop through the experiences of parenthood.
  • It emphasizes the importance of respecting and considering a mother's advice.
  • Though traditionally associated with mothers, the concept is applicable to primary caregivers of any gender.
  • It should be used thoughtfully and considerately, as with all idioms and proverbs.

Where Does "A Mother Knows Best" Come From?

While the specific origins of the phrase "a mother knows best" are hard to pinpoint, the sentiment it conveys is common across many cultures and societies. Respect and deference to parental wisdom, particularly maternal wisdom, is common in many cultures' proverbs and idioms.

Historical Example

"One is occasionally met in one's efforts to put in a word for nature by the difficult argument 'a mother knows best. '"

-The British Architect, 1877

10 Examples of "A Mother Knows Best" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how the idiom can be used in sentences:

  • When making decisions about their child's health, a mother often knows best.
  • By the end of the day, I realized a mother truly knows best when it comes to managing time effectively.
  • All in all, despite our disagreements, my sister's advice reflects the wisdom that mothers always know best.
  • Even though the teacher suggested one course of action, the child's mother chose another, believing that a mother knows best.
  • Before my morning run, Mom insisted I eat my Wheaties; we all know a mother knows best.
  • When it came to her daughter's nutrition, she trusted her instincts because she knew that a mother knows best.
  • On a side note, my friend's mother made some wise investments; it seems a mother often knows best, even in finances.
  • The grandmother told her daughter to trust her instincts with her newborn, saying that a mother knows best.
  • Kidding aside, my dad admitted that my mother knows best when it comes to cooking.
  • She ignored the conflicting advice and trusted her instincts because a mother knows best.

Examples of "A Mother Knows Best" in Pop Culture

The phrase "a mother knows best" is often seen in pop culture, particularly in family-oriented media, often reinforcing the idea of maternal wisdom and instinct.

Let's look at some instances:

  • The song "Mother Knows Best" from Disney's animated film "Tangled" (2010), in which the character Gothel uses this phrase to control her adopted daughter Rapunzel.
  • "Mother Knows Best" is the 5th book from The Villains series by Serena Valentino.
  • Mother Knows Best” is a 1997 TV movie based on a true story. It stars Joanna Kerns as Celeste Cooper, a wealthy and controlling mother who disapproves of her daughter’s husband.

Other/Different Ways to Say "A Mother Knows Best"

Several alternative expressions convey a similar sentiment to "a mother knows best."

Here are some of them:

  • Maternal wisdom
  • A mother's intuition
  • A Mother's Insight
  • Trust in a mother's judgment
  • Maternal advice is best

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "A Mother Knows Best":

  • What does "a mother knows best" mean?

"A mother knows best" is a phrase that suggests a mother's advice or judgement, often in matters concerning her children, is typically the most accurate or beneficial.

  • How can I use "a mother knows best" in a sentence?

You can use "a mother knows best" to highlight the wisdom or judgement of a mother. For example, "Despite differing opinions, she insisted on following her instincts because a mother knows best."

  • Where does the idiom "a mother knows best" come from?

The exact origin of the phrase "a mother knows best" is unclear, but the sentiment it expresses is common across many cultures and societies, demonstrating respect and deference to maternal wisdom.

  • Is "a mother knows best" a universally accepted concept?

While the phrase "a mother knows best" reflects a widely held belief about maternal wisdom and intuition, it's important to remember that parenting styles and beliefs vary significantly across different cultures and individuals.

  • Does "a mother knows best" imply that fathers don't know best?

No, the phrase doesn't negate the importance of fathers' or other caregivers' insights and wisdom. Instead, it highlights the specific intuition often associated with motherhood.

  • Can "a mother knows best" apply to things beyond child-rearing?

Yes, while commonly used in the context of child-rearing, it can also refer to the broader wisdom and intuition a mother or experienced woman may have.

  • Can "a mother knows best" be used in a professional context?</strong >

Yes, though it's typically used in personal or familial contexts, the phrase could be applied in professional situations, such as when referring to the seasoned judgment of a project leader or experienced team member.

  • Does "a mother knows best" suggest that mothers are always right?

No, the phrase is more about the perceived wisdom and intuition often attributed to mothers, rather than an assertion of infallibility.

  • Can "a mother knows best" be challenged?

Like any proverb, it can be challenged. Wisdom and intuition can come from many sources, and while mothers can often provide valuable insight, they may not always have the best solution for every situation.

  • Is there a specific context in which "a mother knows best" should not be used?

"A mother knows best" should be used sensitively, considering cultural, personal, and contextual nuances. It should be avoided in situations where it may be interpreted as dismissive of other caregivers' abilities or experiences.

Final Thoughts About "A Mother Knows Best"

The idiom "a mother knows best" places emphasis on the perceived wisdom and intuition of a mother, particularly in matters relating to her children. The phrase reflects the societal respect and deference often accorded to maternal insight.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase speaks to the idea that a mother, through her intimate understanding and experience with her child, is often best suited to make decisions that impact her child.
  • While it expresses a common belief, it does not suggest that mothers are infallible or that other caregivers lack wisdom or insight.
  • Context matters – while it's a widely used idiom, it's important to remember that not all situations or cultural norms align with the assumption that "a mother knows best."

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