Etymology
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Mother Goose 
probably a translation of mid-17c. French contes de ma mère l'oye, which meant "fairy tales." The phrase appeared on the frontispiece of Charles Perrault's 1697 collection of eight fairy tales ("Contes du Temps Passé"), which was translated in English 1729 as "Mother Goose's Tales", and a very popular collection of traditional nursery rhymes published by John Newbery c. 1765 was called "Mother Goose's Melody." Her own biographical story is no earlier than 1806.
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goose (v.)
"jab in the rear," c. 1880, from goose (n.), possibly from resemblance of the upturned thumb to a goose's beak, or from the notion of creating nervous excitement. Related: Goosed; goosing. In 19c. theatrical slang, to be goosed meant "to be hissed" (by 1818). A broad range of sexual slang senses historically cluster around goose and gooseberry; goose and duck was rhyming slang for "fuck;" Farmer identifies Winchester goose as "a woman; whence, by implication, the sexual favor," and goose as a verb "to go wenching, to womanize, also to possess a woman." He also has goose-grease for a woman's sexual juices, while gooser and goose's neck meant "the penis." Gooseberries (they are hairy) was "testicles," and gooseberry pudding "a woman."
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mother (n.1)

"female parent, a woman in relation to her child," Middle English moder, from Old English modor, from Proto-Germanic *mōdēr (source also of Old Saxon modar, Old Frisian moder, Old Norse moðir, Danish moder, Dutch moeder, Old High German muoter, German Mutter), from PIE *mater- "mother" (source also of Latin māter, Old Irish mathir, Lithuanian motė, Sanskrit matar-, Greek mētēr, Old Church Slavonic mati), "[b]ased ultimately on the baby-talk form *mā- (2); with the kinship term suffix *-ter-" [Watkins]. Spelling with -th- dates from early 16c., though that pronunciation is probably older (see father (n.)).

Sense of "that which has given birth to anything" is from late Old English; as a familiar term of address to an elderly woman, especially of the lower class, by c. 1200.

Mother Nature as a personification is attested from c. 1600; mother earth as an expression of the earth as the giver of life is from 1580s. Mother tongue "one's native language" is attested from late 14c. Mother country "a country in relation to its colonies" is from 1580s. Mother-love "such affection as is shown by a mother" is by 1854. Mother-wit "native wit, common sense" is from mid-15c.

Mother of all ________ (1991), is Gulf War slang, from Saddam Hussein's use in reference to the coming battle; it is an Arabic idiom (as well as an English one), for instance Ayesha, second wife of Muhammad, is known as Mother of Believers; the figure is attested in English in 19c. (Virginia is called mother of commonwealths from 1849). Mother Carey's chickens is late 18c. sailors' nickname for storm petrels, or for snowflakes.

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mother (v.)

early 15c., intransitive, "be a mother;" 1540s, transitive, "to be the mother of;" from mother (n.1). Meaning "to take care of act as a mother to" is from 1863. Related: Mothered; mothering.

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mother (n.2)

"a thick substance concreting in liquors; the lees or scum concreted" [Johnson], 1530s, probably from Middle Dutch modder "filth, dregs," from PIE *meu- (see mud).

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goose (n.)

"a large waterfowl proverbially noted, I know not why, for foolishness" [Johnson], Old English gos "a goose," from Proto-Germanic *gans- "goose" (source also of Old Frisian gos, Old Norse gas, Old High German gans, German Gans "goose"), from PIE *ghans- (source also of Sanskrit hamsah (masc.), hansi (fem.), "goose, swan;" Greek khen; Latin anser; Polish gęś "goose;" Lithuanian žąsis "goose;" Old Irish geiss "swan"), probably imitative of its honking.

Geese are technically distinguished from swans and from ducks by the combination of feathered lores, reticulate tarsi, stout bill high at the base, and simple hind toe. [Century Dictionary]

Spanish ganso "goose" is from a Germanic source. Loss of "n" sound before "s" is normal in English (compare tooth). Plural form geese is an example of i-mutation. Meaning "simpleton, silly or foolish person" is from early 15c. To cook (one's) goose is attested by 1845, of unknown origin; attempts to connect it to Swedish history and Greek fables are unconvincing. Goose-egg "zero" is attested by 1866 in baseball slang, from being large and round. The goose that lays golden eggs (15c.) is from Aesop.

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mother-ship (n.)

"large ship or craft escorting or having charge of a number of other, usually smaller, craft," 1890, from mother (n.1) + ship (n.).

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mother-of-pearl (n.)

"nacreous inner layer of the shell of various bivalve mollusks," c. 1500, translating Medieval Latin mater perlarum, with the first element perhaps connected in popular imagination with obsolete mother (n.2) "dregs." Compare Italian madreperla, French mère-perle, Dutch parelmoer, German Perlmutter, Danish perlemor. It is the stuff of pearls but in a layer instead of a mass.

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goose-step (n.)
1806, originally a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth." This, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking. In reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916. As a verb by 1854.
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