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Dan Smith
Missing rhyme puzzle: "M-O-T-H-E-R"

"M-O-T-H-E-R" (the song spells it out letter by letter) was written in 1915. It was a big hit. It was originally perfectly serious. It was very sentimental. In those days, families gathered around the piano and sang songs in their homes, and many of them were about home themes. Nowadays it is sometimes sung sincerely, but it is so excessively sweet and sentimental that it is often considered a joke. There are many parodies of it.

The blanks show the missing words. They do not indicate how many letters are in the words. 

The "M' and "T" lines rhyme. The "O" and "H" lines rhyme.

Here's a clue for one line that may have an unfamiliar cultural context. To see it, drag mouse from here


Conventionally, in the U.S. a hundred years ago in Christian families, women were thought to be more "spiritual" than men. It was the mother's job to make sure the children went to church and became good Christians. In some traditions, people possess immortal souls which can either be "lost" and condemned to hell after death, or can be "saved" through the grace of God.


to here.

M is for the million things she __________ me,

O means only that she's growing __________;

T is for the tears she shed to __________ me,

H is for her heart of purest __________;

E is for her eyes, with love-light shining,

R means right, and right she'll always be!

Put them all together, they spell MOTHER--

A word that means the world to me.

The words are easier to understand in this 1940s version, sung in "Country-Western" style.

This 1916 recording gives a better idea of the original style. The stanza above begins at about 0:56. It contains the original introduction, which says that although the speaker "has never been to school," nevertheless he's proud that "there's one dear name that I can spell the best."

Aug 22, 2016 1:08 PM
Comments · 7
Yes, it's "gave." It rhymes with "save." He's grown up, and he's thinking back in the past and being grateful for what his mother did for him when he was young.
August 22, 2016

M Gives

O Old

T Save

H Gold

This is my attempt! I have listen to the song and I am not sure if the first word is Gives or Gave (Guess it is in the past)

Thank you so much for this new song and game! :) 

August 22, 2016

Thank you Very much, Dan for correcting me again:)So I should say old and gold are in rhyme.Right?

Thanks for clearing the meaning of two words as for me it was bit confusing.I will remember this and hope not to do any mistake again.

Thank you:)

August 22, 2016

Yes, "old" is the word.

I hate to mention this, but the word you want is "rhyme," not "rhythm." "Rhythm" and "rhyme" are two different words. "Rhyme" is pronounced as one syllable and refers to words that have endings that sound the same. "Rhyme" rhymes with "time" and "dime." "Rhyme" is the word you want here.

"Rhythm" is pronounced with two syllables, rith-um, and means a pattern of beats in music. Drums are "rhythm instruments;" they don't play a musical note like C or A, they make rhythmic sounds. You dance to the rhythm of the music.

August 22, 2016

Ohh my mistake.I got it clear now in the link you mentioned:)

It is OLD.Isn't it?  old-gold,now it is in rhythm.:)

Thanks Dan for correcting me:)

August 22, 2016
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Dan Smith
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language