"tough outer membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord," c. 1400, from Medieval Latin dura mater cerebri, literally "hard mother of the brain," a loan-translation of Arabic umm al-dimagh as-safiqa, literally "thick mother of the brain." "In Arabic, the words 'father,' 'mother,' and 'son' are often used to denote relationships between things" [Klein].
late 14c., Latin, literally "nurturing mother," a title given by Romans to certain goddesses, especially Ceres and Cybele, from alma, fem. of almus "nourishing," from alere "to nourish, rear, support, maintain" (from PIE root *al- (2) "to grow, nourish") + māter "mother" (see mother (n.1)). The use of the Latin phrase for "one's university or school" is attested from 1710.
late 15c., "of or pertaining to a mother or motherhood; characteristic of mothers," from Old French maternel (14c.), from Vulgar Latin *maternalis, from Latin māternus "maternal, of a mother," from māter "mother" (see mother (n.1)). From 1650s as "inherited or derived from a mother;" by 1784 as "motherly, having the instincts of a mother." Related: Maternally.
1610s, "quality or condition of being a mother," from French maternité "motherhood" (15c.), from Medieval Latin maternitatem (nominative maternitas) "motherhood," from Latin māternus "of a mother," from māter "mother" (see mother (n.1)). Used from 1893 as a quasi-adjective in reference to garments designed for pregnant women. Maternity leave in reference to working women is attested by 1942.
"to checkmate," c. 1300, from Old French mater "to checkmate, defeat, overcome," from mat "checkmated" (see checkmate (v.)).
word-forming element meaning "of or relating to a mother," also "of or relating to women," from combining form of Latin māter (genitive mātris) "mother" (see mother (n.1)).