Refrigerator Mother Meaning
(dated, idiomatic, pejorative) An emotionally frigid mother, who does not exhibit normal care or love for her child or children.
Example: 1979 April 7, Helen Kohl, "The Strange Ones" Autism can be brought into our world," Montreal Gazette (Canada) (retrieved 18 Nov 2012):
It was not until 1943 that Dr. Leo Kanner, an American pschiatrist, first diagnosed the syndrome in 11 children. . . . Kanner and others once postulated that these children were the products of "refrigerator mothers," women who are overly cold and intellectual.
2010, John W. Oller Jr and Stephen D. Oller, Autism: The Diagnosis, Treatment, & Etiology of the Undeniable Epidemic, ISBN 9780763752804, p. 49:
No present-day researcher takes the idea of the refrigerator mother as the cause of autism seriously.