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

Example Sentences

the toddler clung to her mammy and eyed the strangers fearfully
Recent Examples on the Web 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 Violent, upsetting and misleading grindhouse documentaries designed to repulse our moral sense and send us home shaken, primed to become good Catholic child soldiers who would protect defenceless wee babbies from their own mammies. Graham Linehan, Time, 25 May 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mammy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.