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90s Slang You Should Know

Aunt Jemima

Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a black woman considered by other black people to be subservient to or to curry favor with white people.
Compare Uncle Tom.
Origin of Aunt Jemima
First recorded in 1885-90; after the trademarked name of a brand of pancake mixes and associated products, featuring a picture of a black female cook on the packaging
Usage note
The trademarked name and image of Aunt Jemima, as used by the Quaker Oats Company on some of its products, was originally the name of a stereotypical African American character in minstrel shows of the late 19th century. The image used on product packaging, originally a fat, smiling black woman with a kerchief in her hair, has been altered over the years to eliminate racial stereotypes, though the Aunt Jemima product name remains problematic. By depicting servility and subservience to white people, Aunt Jemima retains its offensive racist overtones. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Aunt Jemima
Historical Examples
  • "Unless she were to take Inmates, you know," said Aunt Jemima, in a sepulchral voice.

    Miss Marjoribanks Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant
  • Aunt Jemima was to go ahead and see that these preparations were carried out.

    Kennedy Square F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Aunt Jemima watched him in grim silence to the foot of the stairs.

    The Golden Shoemaker J. W. Keyworth
  • Aunt Jemima, for her part, lingered a little with Lucilla downstairs.

    Miss Marjoribanks Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant
  • Dey wants a li'l' trimmin' roun' de aidges, but I reckon we kin make 'em do—Aunt Jemima sont 'em home dis mawnin'.

    Kennedy Square F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Aunt Jemima, you're so provoking that I sometimes think I shall have to leave you.

    Marion Fay Anthony Trollope
  • Upon which Lucilla rose and kissed Aunt Jemima, though her head was all confused and she had noises in her ears.

    Miss Marjoribanks Mrs (Margaret) Oliphant
  • Mr. Greenbank is the only person who has asked me, and Aunt Jemima says no one else ever will!

  • And here everything came to a halt and all the troops were sent back to the barracks—(Aunt Jemima will do for the barracks).

    Kennedy Square F. Hopkinson Smith
  • So he took a seat on a barrel-head and began to scrub it off; but he found it something like Aunt Jemima's plaster.

    The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Amanda Minnie Douglas
Contemporary definitions for Aunt Jemima

the world's first living trademark, Nancy Green, who demonstrated the ready-mixed, self-rising pancake flour created in 1889.


In the image of "Aunt Jemima," the Nancy Green legend lives on.'s 21st Century Lexicon
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