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[ah-muh, am-uh] /ˈɑ mə, ˈæm ə/
noun, (in India and the Far East)
a baby's nurse, especially a wet nurse.
a female servant; maid.
Origin of amah
1830-40; < Portuguese ama nurse, governess < Medieval Latin amma wet nurse, perhaps alteration of Latin mamma breast Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for amah
Historical Examples
  • Then he makes up his mind the best thing is to leave Daisy with the amah.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • I told you I wouldn't have your disgusting pipe in here, amah.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • It's very convenient that you should always be within earshot when you're wanted, amah.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • I've never seen anyone let an amah behave as you let her behave.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • The amah complained that the roof leaked and I came to see for myself.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • It was very easy for him to get into the room after amah and I went away.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
  • The other day our amah told Leonard and me to chatter our teeth three times and blow.

    Peeps Into China E. C. Phillips
  • The amah shouldered the steaming buckets and splashed across the bare boards of the ancestral hall beyond.

  • Calling her amah, she directed her to fetch two rolls of silk, each worth about forty dollars, and with them she cooked the rice.


    Sir Henry Arthur Blake
  • The amah, having finished her devotions, stands at the doorway looking out steadily.

    East of Suez William Somerset Maugham
British Dictionary definitions for amah


/ˈɑːmə; ˈæmə/
(in the East, esp formerly) a nurse or maidservant, esp one of Chinese origin Compare ayah
Word Origin
C19: from Portuguese ama nurse, wet nurse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for amah

"wet-nurse," 1839, Anglo-Indian, from Portuguese ama "nurse," from Medieval Latin amma "mother," from PIE root *am-, forming nursery words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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