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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woman's loose, unbelted dress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long, wide, loose-fitting gown with long sleeves and a high neck, introduced by missionaries in Polynesia; Originally austere, later transformed into lighter and more colorful forms.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A loose full gown worn by women: so named from its general resemblance to that considered characteristic of “Mother Hubbard” in the rimes of “Mother Goose.”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman's loose unbelted dress


Probably from illustrations of Mother Hubbard, character in a nursery rhyme by Sarah Catherine Martin (1768-1826), British writer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From "Old Mother Hubbard", a nursery rhyme. (Wiktionary)


  • Though she was chopping wood, and chopping it very well, though she wore what is sometimes called a Mother Hubbard wrapper and a stiff, clean blue-checked apron, she was not in the least a peasant.

    While Caroline Was Growing

  • Old Mother Hubbard, which is based in Massachusetts, declined to comment.

    Price-Fixing Makes Comeback

  • This news came to Mr. and Mrs. Jesse at the very last minute, and they had no choice but to call Mother Hubbard's, and isn't it lovely that just a half hour before, sweet little Stevie Queen, being moi, called in and said that he was available for baby-stomping after all.

    Flux Tales of Human Futures

  • He and Lian-Chu have known each other since childhood, and were raised together in an orphanage called Mother Hubbard's Farm.


  • [Illustrations: 20_1 - 20_15] _Early "Mother Hubbard:" J. Evans, Long Lane, circa 1770.

    Banbury Chap Books And Nursery Toy Book Literature

  • After they had eaten as much as they wanted, they were taken into the room where the piano is; and mamma got "The Nursery" containing the song of "Mother Hubbard," and played and sung it to them.

    The Nursery, February 1873, Vol. XIII. A Monthly Magazine for Youngest People

  • "Mother Hubbard" hat and cloak, very familiar to the students of costumes as belonging to the countrywomen of Shakspeare's time, demands the short, bunched-up petticoat and high-heeled, high-cut shoes to make it perfect.

    Manners and Social Usages

  • The original "Mother Hubbard" consisted of nothing more than the first six lines which contain three rhymes.

    The Chinese Boy and Girl

  • _Holoku_ (hó-lo-kú) -- a loose gown resembling a "Mother Hubbard," much worn by the women of Hawaii.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii The Sacred Songs of the Hula

  • She was near investing in candy kisses, when yellow and scarlet-backed books containing the history of "Mother Hubbard," or the "Babes in the Woods," or "Little Red Riding Hood," attracted her eye, and she realized what life-long regret she must have suffered for spending five cents on candy kisses, when one such volume might be hers for the same money.

    Old Caravan Days


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