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Moth"er*ly, a. [AS. m&ō;dorlic.] Of or pertaining to a mother; like, or suitable for, a mother; tender; maternal; as, motherly authority, love, or care. Hooker.
Syn. -- Maternal; paternal. -- Motherly, Maternal. Motherly, being Anglo-Saxon, is the most familiar word of the two when both have the same meaning. Besides this, maternal is confined to the feelings of a mother toward her own children, whereas motherly has a secondary sense, denoting a care like that of a mother for her offspring. There is, perhaps, a growing tendency thus to separate the two, confining motherly to the latter signification. “They termed her the great mother, for her motherly care in cherishing her brethren whilst young.” Sir W. Raleigh.
Moth"er*ly, adv. In a manner of a mother.