- Informal. mother1.
- Disparaging and Offensive. (formerly in the southern U.S.) a black woman engaged as a nurse to white children or as a servant to a white family.
Origin of mammy
At the time of the Civil War and into the 20th century, the Southern mammy was characterized as being strong, kind, and loyal. But her image was also that of an overweight, unattractive, and often illiterate household slave. This reinforced racial stereotypes of inferiority and servility. See also Aunt Jemima.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for mammies
De chillun's mammies, dey would come in from de fields about three times er day to let de babies suck.
Dey had a separate house for 'em, and a granny 'oman who didn't have nothin' else to do but look atter colored babies and mammies.
I am a southern man, born and reared mid slavery, and I pay this tribute to the black "mammies" of the South before the war.
Where there were Negro mammies, white children were likely to be haunted in the night by fear of ghosts.Guide to Life and Literature of the Southwest
J. Frank Dobie
The black boys were shipped off to their mammies and I fear received their full share of "the condign."The Long Hillside
Thomas Nelson Page
- a child's word for mother 1
- mainly Southern US a Black woman employed as a nurse or servant to a White family
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
Word Origin and History for mammies
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper