(Anglo-Saxon, mid, with; wif, woman). The nurse who is with the mother in her labour.
Midwife of men's thoughts. So Socrates termed himself; and, as Mr. Grote observes, “No other man ever struck out of others so many sparks to set light to original thought.” Out of his intellectual school sprang Plato and the Dialectic system; Euclid and the Megaric; Aristippos and the Cyrenaic; Antisthee and the Cynic; and his influence on the mind was never equalled by any teacher but One, of whom it was said, “Never man spake like this man.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894