"mother;" "village elder"
11th cent. From Latin matrem 'id.,' accusative of mater.
From Proto-Italic *mātēr 'id.' From Proto-Indo-European *méh2-tēr 'id.' From *meh2-, a root of unknown meaning. Perhaps originally meaning "mother" with *-tēr added by analogy with *ph2ter "father" (see padre).
As a surname de la Madre, perhaps originally given to individuals in reference to the tertiary meaning of madre: terrain cut by a brook or a river. Equally plausible, however, is that it was given in devotion to Mary, mother of Jesus, in Christianity.
Romance: Western Vulgar Latin: Asturian madre, Portuguese mãe, Galician mai, Catalan mare, French mère, Italian madre
Italic: Oscan maatreís "of the mother," Umbrian matres 'id.,' Faliscan mate "mother," South Picene matereíh "to the mother"
Indo-European: Celtic: Old Irish máithir "mother," Germanic: Old High German muoter 'id.,' Balto-Slavic: Old Church Slavonic mati "mother," Lithuanian mótė 'id.,' Albanian: motër "sister;" Hellenic: Ancient Greek μήτηρ (méter) "mother;" Armenian: mayr "mother;" Indo-Iranian: Sanskrit mātár- "mother," Avestan mātar- 'id.;' Tocharian: A mācar "mother," B mācer 'id.'According to Benveniste (1973), in Indo-European society, the woman who raised the child was called *anna, while the woman with the official title of mother was *māter. This was paralleled in men as well, the man who raised the child was *atta, while the official father was *pəter.