I am translating several titles of paintings from Ukrainian into English for an upcoming exhibition/publication. Is there a single English word that means "the one who feeds"? The original word in Ukrainian is feminine gender noun describing anything from fertile nature to a wet nurse, i.e. the one that provides food.
'Nourisher' might fit. It comes close to the Ukrainian meaning, though I assume it is an uncommon word because I was unaware of it until just now, and my browser's dictionary does not know it.
Nourish (verb with object)
- Provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition: I was doing everything I could to nourish and protect the baby; (figurative) spiritual resources which nourished her in her darkest hours
1.1 Enhance the fertility of (soil): a clay base nourished with plant detritus
- Keep (a feeling or belief) in one’s mind, typically for a long time: he has long nourished an ambition to bring the show to Broadway
May I suggest nurturer as a metaphor.
nurturer from the verb nurture
Verb [with object]:
Care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing:
Women can put a different aspect to decision-making because they're nurturers of their families.
Provider might suit the general range of the Ukrainian noun. There is no reason why provider needs to be semantically restricted to human agents; the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote an essay "On Nature as our Best Provider".
Swinburne uses an exact, and nowadays rare, poetic word: fostress
My mother sea, my fostress, what new strand, What new delight of waters, may this be, The fairest found since time's first breezes fanned My mother sea?
The male form is fosterer, from
foster: Old English fōstrian ‘feed, nourish,’ from fōster ‘food, nourishment,’ of Germanic origin; related to food. (from Google Dictionary)
Etymologically nurse, from the Old French nourice based on Latin nutricia "she who nourishes", is the word, but, of course, it came to mean a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, not just one who provides food, and won't work in your case.
Possibly "nurturer". It has the connotations of helping another to thrive, not just feed them food, although that could be part of it. Look up "nurture" and see if that is closer to your Ukrainian meaning.
What a lovely thing to have a single word for. I don't think English really has. "Nurture" is more often used as a verb or adjective, though I do think "nurturer" is acceptable. Certainly the meaning would be understood by English speakers.
How about motherer?
motherer: agent noun of mother: one who mothers
How about nurser?
nurser: a woman employed to suckle children other than her own; a wet nurse.
Nurser seems to fit the OP's desire for:
... a single English word that means "the one who feeds"? The original word in Ukrainian is feminine gender noun describing anything from fertile nature to a wet nurse, i.e. the one that provides food.
Compared to the other responses, nurser has the advantage of focusing on feeding but nothing more. And it's not a strange or obscure word, like motherer. :-)
Could 'mother' work? The word 'mother' often has connotations of someone who cares, nurtures and feeds. This can be seen in terms like Mother Nature, Mother Earth, mother village &c. Although, it might be a bit odd with the particular example of 'wet nurse' since obviously they aren't the mother.