[mah-muh, muh-mah]


noun, plural mam·mae [mam-ee] /ˈmæm i/ for 1; mam·ma for 2.
  1. Anatomy, Zoology. a structure, characteristic of mammals, that comprises one or more mammary glands with an associated nipple or teat, usually rudimentary unless developed and activated for the secretion of milk in the female after the birth of young.
  2. Meteorology. (used with a plural verb) hanging, breastlike protuberances on the under surface of a cloud.

Origin of mamma

before 1050; Middle English < Latin: breast, teat (whence Old English mamme teat). See mamma1


or mam·ma

[mah-muh; for 1 also muh-mah]
  1. Informal. mother1.
  2. Slang.
    1. a sexually attractive, usually mature woman.
    2. one's wife.

Origin of mama

1545–55; nursery word, with parallels in other European languages, probably in part inherited or borrowed, in part newly formed; compare Latin mamma, Greek mámmē breast, mama (see mamma2), French maman mama, Welsh mam mother (< *mammā) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mamma

Contemporary Examples of mamma

Historical Examples of mamma

British Dictionary definitions for mamma


noun mainly US
  1. Also: momma (ˈmɑːmə, məˈmɑː) another word for mother 1
  2. (ˈmɑːmə) informal a buxom and voluptuous woman

Word Origin for mamma

C16: reduplication of childish syllable ma; compare Welsh mam, French maman, Russian mama


noun plural -mae (-miː)
  1. the milk-secreting organ of female mammals: the breast in women, the udder in cows, sheep, etc
  2. (functioning as plural) breast-shaped protuberances, esp from the base of cumulonimbus clouds

Word Origin for mamma

C17: from Latin: breast


  1. old-fashioned an informal word for mother 1
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 mamma

1570s, representing the native form of the reduplication of *ma- that is nearly universal among the Indo-European languages (cf. Greek mamme "mother, grandmother," Latin mamma, Persian mama, Russian and Lithuanian mama "mother," German Muhme "mother's sister," French maman, Welsh mam "mother"). Probably a natural sound in baby-talk, perhaps imitative of sound made while sucking.

Its late appearance in English is curious, but Middle English had mome (mid-13c.) "an aunt; an old woman," also an affectionate term of address for an older woman. In educated usage, the stress is always on the last syllable. In terms of recorded usage of related words in English, mama is from 1707, mum is from 1823, mummy in this sense from 1839, mommy 1844, momma 1852, and mom 1867.


1707, spelling variant of mamma. Meaning "sexually attractive woman" first recorded 1925 in black slang; mama's boy "soft, effeminate male" is from 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mamma in Medicine


n. pl. mam•mae (mămē)
  1. A mammary gland.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.