mammy

noun

mam·​my ˈma-mē How to pronounce mammy (audio)
plural mammies
1
: mama
2
offensive : a Black woman serving as a nurse to white children especially formerly in the southern U.S.

Examples of mammy in a Sentence

the toddler clung to her mammy and eyed the strangers fearfully
Recent Examples on the Web The mammy stereotype, which desexualized both dark skinned enslaved and free women (who were often in domestic roles), made muting Black beauty the norm. Brooklyn White, Essence, 30 Nov. 2022 Toxic archetypes of Black womanhood—the mammy, the Black matriarch, the jezebel (or the Scraggle Daggle, in SYSBM parlance), and the welfare mother—are all alive and well in the Black Manosphere. Nicole Young, ELLE, 26 Jan. 2022 One example given is the Aunt Jemima brand and logo, a depiction of an older Black woman based on the archetype of a mammy. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 1 Mar. 2021 The song features a mammy, a racial stereotype of the Black female caretaker figure devoted to her white family. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 30 June 2020 No human being deserves to be in a cage, but this notion that Black women must play mammy and Moses for the world is killing us, while police officers with licenses to kill are murdering our children. Kirsten West Savali, Essence, 3 Oct. 2019 Saar enlarged the slave ship image, printed it onto the surface of the ironing board, and at one end superimposed the image of a black woman ironing, dressed stereotypically as a mammy. Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2019 But what complicates Hildi is the history of how black women, and especially slaves, have been treated in real life (raped, beaten) and depicted onscreen (as mammies or Jezebels). Aisha Harris, New York Times, 7 Aug. 2019 The Help in 2011, doesn’t seem to get that Ma operates as a black-mammy stereotype. Armond White, National Review, 7 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mammy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

alteration of mamma

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mammy was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near mammy

Cite this Entry

“Mammy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mammy. Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!