mam·​my | \ ˈma-mē How to pronounce mammy (audio) \
plural mammies

Definition of mammy

1 : mama
2 : a black woman serving as a nurse to white children especially formerly in the southern U.S.

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Synonyms for mammy


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Examples of mammy in a Sentence

the toddler clung to her mammy and eyed the strangers fearfully
Recent Examples on the Web The song features a mammy, a racial stereotype of the Black female caretaker figure devoted to her white family. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Aunt Jemima model Nancy Green didn't create the brand," 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, "On Judge Tammy Kemp And Why Playing The Help Ain’t A Pathway To Heaven," 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, "This 93-year-old artist has been taking on racism and sexism for decades — and is finally getting her due," 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, "Sharon Tate Is a Woman in a Tarantino Movie. It’s Complicated.," 7 Aug. 2019 The Help in 2011, doesn’t seem to get that Ma operates as a black-mammy stereotype. Armond White, National Review, "Ma’s Black-Mammy Stereotypes Capture the Illiberal Spirit," 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, "What My Wife’s Abortion Taught Me About Why Men Should Stand With Women in the Ireland Referendum," 25 May 2018 The sculpture is forty tons of sugar molded into a ghostly white apparition, part mammy, part sphinx. Longreads, "Kara Walker’s Subtlety," 28 Feb. 2018 Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters. Angela Helm, The Root, "Is This Historical Sign Racist or Just Part of American History?," 16 Dec. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of mammy

1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mammy

alteration of mamma

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Time Traveler for mammy

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The first known use of mammy was in 1523

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Cite this Entry

“Mammy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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