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1. A woman ancestor.
2. A woman who is from an earlier time and has originated or contributed to a common tradition shared by a particular group.


(Sociology) a female ancestor


(ˈfɔrˌmʌð ər, ˈfoʊr-)

a female ancestor.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.foremother - a woman ancestor
ancestor, antecedent, ascendant, ascendent, root - someone from whom you are descended (but usually more remote than a grandparent)


A person from whom one is descended:
Archaic: predecessor.
References in classic literature ?
My strain has remained clearer than the rest because for countless ages my foremothers were high priestesses--the sacred office descends from mother to daughter.
Instead of being the youngest of the family, it rather seemed to have aggregated into itself the ages, not only of these living specimens of the breed, but of all its forefathers and foremothers, whose united excellences and oddities were squeezed into its little body.
Even those deeply opposed to the doctrine that has now come to be known as neo- liberalism would have a hard time denying its ubiquitous presence, and Mrs T played ideological foremother to Ronald Reagan in achieving this; no mean feat.
Carol Margaret Davison laments the fact that Gilbert and Gubar ignore Ann Radcliffe, for in her view the gothic novelist is "unarguably the principal foremother of Gilbert & Gubar's theoretical paradigm" (209).
Another minor concern is that of genealogy: while in the French context George Sand (1804-1876) is properly invoked as a foremother, the earliest Italian foremother cited is Sibilla Aleramo (1876-1960).
I can just see our foremother suffragists, many of whom were also abolitionists, beaming from war to ear at the thought that the foundation they laid for an inclusive, representative electorate has evolved to this momentous point.
Sappho as foremother takes her place alongside others: the speaker's biological mother Carmen; literary "mothers" Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, May Swenson and (yes
Likewise, "In the 1930s and on, French writers like Marguerite Yourcenar, Nathalie Sarraute, Simone de Beauvoir, and Marguerite Duras rejected their maternal foremother as representing and perpetuating the image of a certain France to which they felt they did not belong" (120-121).
That foremother didn't get to the continent on her own, Savolainen and his colleagues assert.
As Silvera demonstrates with this novel, cultural inscriptions by ethnic women offer an interesting analysis of the hermeneutics of female representation and access to the world, yet cannot be divorced from forms of orientation toward the mother or foremother.
Also appearing Saturday will be Erin Harpe, a Delta-style guitarist and singer who patterns herself after Memphis Minnie, a foremother of the blues; powerhouse Lisa Marie, who belts out everything from roots, blues, rockabilly, jazz, swing and funk, and is not too shabby on the harp, either; and relative newcomer Carolyn Waters of Auburn, who has an amazing vocal range that moves effortlessly from folk, gospel and jazz to good old-fashioned foot-stomping blues.