Definitions starting with M

ID #2056

ma, maw

[Pan-Creole; cf. Réunion Cr. Fr. ma idem (Chaudenson 1974:40); "etym. probably dual: cf. Twi mmá; woman, coinciding with a reduced form of ma'am or of mama" DJE; cf. also SA Ma mother of, Mrs. (prefixed to a woman's name; Africans' English); cf. Car. Sp. Ma Juana (Alvarez Nazario 1974:324); cf. Common Bantu *—máa (my) mother (Carter p.c.) and Ibo ma term of address to older female relative (Okolo p.c.) as well as Yoruba íya' (lit. mother) term of address to older, respected woman whether related or not (Oyedeji p.c.)] n. 1. a polite term of address or title (with Christian or given name) for an older, respected woman (related or not): 1966 Ma Sue (Crowley 119). 1978 An 80-year-old woman, Ma Ju (short for Julia) (Higgs 4). cf. MAMA, MAMMY, MOMMA; cf. also PA (Gen.)

2. [cf. Haitian manman, man: man précède toujours un nom de personne et s'applique le plus souvent à la grand-mère (Faine 1974: 287)] term of address to the woman by whom one has been reared, often the grandmother. (Gen.)

◊Many Bahamians distinguish between mama or maw grandmother, as opposed to mommy or mummy mother.

Tags: noun, term of address

Related entries: -

Last update: 2012-09-24 02:15
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.2

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