the mother of all (something)

the mother of all (something)

The largest, most extreme, or ultimate example of a particular kind of thing. The word that follows "of" is usually plural. Wow, that is the mother of all sandwiches. It's a foot high!
See also: all, mother, of

mother of

The best or greatest of a type, as in That was the mother of all tennis matches. This expression originated during the Gulf War as a translation of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's term umm al-ma'arik, for "major battle"; the Arabic "mother of" is a figure of speech for "major" or "best." It was quickly adopted and applied to just about any person, event, or activity. [Slang; late 1980s]
See also: mother, of

the mother (or mother and father) of all —

an extreme example or very large specimen of something. informal
2007 Michael Simkins Fatty Batter Our pet pug dog, little Oona, does the mother of all dumps on the flower bed.
See also: all, mother, of

the ˈmother (and ˈfather) of (all) something

(informal) used to emphasize that something is very large, important, etc: There was the mother of all storms that night. It lasted for hours.Sorry we’re so late. We got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams on the way.
See also: mother, of, something
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