Amah (term)

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Amah (阿媽[1], Ama) is a term for "mother" in several different languages and contexts, see mama and papa. It has also become a term for the job of a combined nanny and housemaid.

In Chinese, amah ("grandmother") is often used as an equivalent of the English word "nanny"—the term does not refer to a wet nurse or a servant, but rather a "friend" who helps a family to raise a child. This is a common occupation in China.

During the T'ang dynasty in China, the word Amah was used as an informal and poetic title for the Taoist goddess Queen Mother of the West.

Amah is the Mosuo term for mother.[2] In Mosuo, the word ammah or anmah means "mother".

It is a specific Hokkien honorific.

Similar words[edit]

The Okinawan language uses ayah for "mother". Hebrew uses ima (אמא, pronounced /ˈimä/). Arabic has ummah("أماه") which is composed of umm("mother") and ah("vocative morpheme").


  1. ^ "阿媽". Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  2. ^ It is used in this way in Yang Erche Namu's memoir Leaving Mother Lake.

See also[edit]