Motherland is a term that may refer to a mother country, i.e. the place of one's birth, the place of origin of an ethnic group or immigrant, or a Metropole in contrast to its colonies. This usage is sometimes seen in English, maybe more often in the social sciences.
Motherland is synonymous with the concept of fatherland, although perhaps carrying different psychological and cultural associations. From the earliest of times the Earth, and thereby the land, usually was depicted as a mother. Among the earliest of human records, the Ancient Egyptians began the tradition of describing their country as a motherland and even today, often the imagery or personification of a country depicts the gender of the concept for each, for example, Australia, Britannia, Colombia, España, Germania, America, India, and many more. Languages usually display the gender differences of the concept in most countries.
The term "Motherland" is very often applied to Russia, and many Russians around the world refer to Russia as their motherland.
The term is also used by Americans and people from other former British colonies to describe the United Kingdom.
In Spanish-speaking countries Madre Patria can refer to the speaker's own home country, or be understood as a general reference to Spain (Madre Patria).
The term, motherland, especially has the connotation of one's country of birth and growing up, with the country respectfully being viewed as a benign mother, nurturing the citizens as her children.
In some other languages:
- Amharic: እናት ሀገር (Ənat hagär)
- Arabic: وطن (waṭan)
- Armenian: մայրենի հող (mayreni hogh) literally, 'mother soil', հայրենիք (hayreniq) meaning fatherland is commonly in use
- Azerbaijani: Vətən (وطن), Ana vətən (آنا وطن), Ana yurdu (آنا يوردو)
- Belarusian: Радзіма (Radzima), Бацькаўшчына (Baćkaŭščyna)
- Bengali: Matribhumi
- Bulgarian: Родина (Rodina). Oтечество (Otechestvo), meaning fatherland, is also used.
- Chinese: 祖国 (simplified Chinese), 祖國 (traditional Chinese) (pinyin: zǔguó) which literally means "ancestral land" and not necessarily "motherland" nor "fatherland." However, in English this is almost exclusively translated as "motherland." In Taiwan, the term 母國 (literally "motherland") is also used, though that may be due to Japanese or Western influence.
- Croatian: Domovina
- Czech: Vlast
- Danish: Moderland
- Dutch: Moederland
- French: Mère patrie (slightly contradictory, since "patrie" means "fatherland")
- German: Mutterland
- Greek: Μητέρα-πατρίδα (Mitera-patrida) or, colloquially, Μαμά-πατρίδα (Mama-patrida)
- Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit: (devanagari: मातृभूमी)
- Hungarian: Anyaföld
- Icelandic: Ættland (more accurately meaning "land of one's family"; in Iceland and Icelandic, the preferred term is föðurland).
- Indonesian : Ibu Pertiwi or Tanah Air
- Italian: Madrepatria (madre, "mother" + patria, literally "fatherland"...)
- Japanese: 母国 bokoku (However, this word feels like something of a transliteration of the Western concept of "motherland" into Chinese characters; the word 祖国 sokoku, "land of the founder(s) of one's clan or dynasty" or more generally "land of one's ancestors," is more traditional)
- Korean: 모국 moguk (hanja: 母國)
- Malayalam: മാതൃഭൂമി (Mathrubhoomi)
- Malay: Ibu Petiwi or Tanah Air
- Nepalese: matribhumi
- Norwegian: moderlandet (mostly used as the colony power over its colonies)
- Persian: ميهن (Meehan)
- Polish: Macierz
- Portuguese: Mãe-Pátria, or simply Pátria
- Punjabi: Matazameen
- Romanian: Patria Mamă
- Russian: Родина (Rodina - 'ancestral land', derived from Rod), also Родина-мать (Rodina-mat' - 'motherland'). Oтечество (Otechestvo) and Отчизна (Otchizna), meaning fatherland, are also used.
- Slovenian: Očetnjava (literally 'fatherland', archaic) or Domovina (literally 'home country' from Dom 'home')
- Spanish: Madre Patria
- Swedish: Moderland
- Tagalog: Inang Bayan
- Turkish: Anavatan / Anayurdu
- Tamil: Thainadu (literally, 'mother country') (Tamil: தாய்நாடு) or Thaimannu (literally, 'mother soil') (Tamil:தாய்மண்ணு)
- Thai: Matuphum (มาตุภูมิ), adapted from Sanskrit
- Ukrainian: Батьківщина (Bat'kivshchyna), Вітчизна (Vitchyzna), both meaning fatherland
- United States of America: Motherland (imagery of Columbia and Liberty)
- Urdu: مادر دھرتی Madar-i-Dharti (literally, 'mother soil')
- Vietnam: Quê Mẹ
- Welsh: Mamwlad
- The equivalent Hebrew word "Moledet" (מולדת) does not directly include the word "mother" but does have a female form and carries many of the connotations of "motherland" in other languages.