Roman goddess of fertility, Latin Maia, literally "she who brings increase," from PIE *mag-ya- "she who is great" (suffixed form of root *meg- "great"). Maia, one of the Pleiades, is from Greek Maia, daughter of Atlas, mother of Hermes, literally "mother, good mother, dame; foster-mother, nurse, midwife," said by Watkins to be from infant babbling (see mamma).
Entries linking to maia
It forms all or part of: acromegaly; Almagest; Charlemagne; maestro; magisterial; magistral; magistrate; Magna Carta; magnate; magnitude; magnum; magnanimity; magnanimous; magni-; Magnificat; magnificence; magnificent; magnify; magniloquence; magniloquent; Magnus; maharajah; maharishi; mahatma; Mahayana; Maia; majesty; major; major-domo; majority; majuscule; master; maxim; maximum; may (v.2) "to take part in May Day festivities;" May; mayor; mega-; megalo-; mickle; Mister; mistral; mistress; much; omega.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Armenian mets "great;" Sanskrit mahat- "great, mazah- "greatness;" Avestan mazant- "great;" Hittite mekkish "great, large;" Greek megas "great, large;" Latin magnus "great, large, much, abundant," major "greater," maximus "greatest;" Middle Irish mag, maignech "great, large;" Middle Welsh meith "long, great."
"mother," a word used especially by children and infants, 1570s, representing the native form of the reduplication of *ma- that is nearly universal among the Indo-European languages (Greek mamme "mother, grandmother," Latin mamma, Persian mama, Russian and Lithuanian mama "mother," German Muhme "mother's sister," French maman, Welsh mam "mother").
Probably a natural sound in baby-talk, perhaps imitative of sound made while sucking. Its late appearance in English is curious, but Middle English had mome (mid-13c.) "an aunt; an old woman," also an affectionate term of address for an older woman.
In educated usage, the stress is always on the last syllable. In terms of the recorded appearance of the variant or related words in English, mama is from 1707, mum is from 1823, mummy in this sense from 1839, mommy 1844, momma 1810, and mom 1867. Mamma's boy "soft, effeminate male" is by 1901.
"pertaining to the Socratic method of assisting a person, by questions, to discover conceptions latent in his mind," 1650s, from Greek maieutikos, a figurative use in philosophy of a word meaning literally "obstetric," from maieuesthai "act as a midwife," from maia "midwife" (see Maia).
By putting leading questions on general or well-known facts, Socrates, by easy steps, to the surprise and delight of his subject, would bring him to the enunciation of some principle hitherto unknown or undeveloped in his mind. This is called his Maieutic: a term which Socrates himself suggested, likening his relation to the development and birth of ideas in the mind to that mid-wife office which his mother performed for the body. Both this feature and the illustration afforded fine material for jest to Aristophanes, who, in his usual comic way, proceeded to literalize the metaphor. [Samuel Ross Winans, "Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates," Boston: 1890]