Mama, noun

Forms:
Also with small initial.
Origin:
Zulu, Xhosa, seTswanaShow more Zulu and Xhosa umama (plural omama), seTswana mama.
Among speakers of Sintu (Bantu) languages: ‘Mother’.
1. Always with initial capital, used as a respectful title. a. Prefixed to a woman’s first name; cf. Ma- prefix1, Mma-, Mme. b. specifically   Mama Africa, Mama Afrika: the singer Miriam Makeba, so called because of her importance as a political and cultural figure.
1977 Drum Oct. 57 (caption)Peter Davidson and Gabriel Thobejane meet the first lady of jazz, Mama Ella.
1994 Sunday Times 24 July (Mag. Sect.) 30Mama Afrika — a documentary on Miriam Makeba airs on NNTV at 20.30.
2. A respectful or familiar term of address.
a. Used to address any adult woman.
1979 W. Ebersohn Lonely Place 71‘Did Small-boss Marthinus never, never hit Muskiet, Mama?’ he repeated. His using of the respectful ‘mama’ had done something to the old woman.
1987 E. Makhanya in Sowetan 21 Dec. 12He moves so fast he looks like he is going through an Oriental ritual, ya see, mama.
b. Used to address one’s mother.
1982 M. Mzamane Children of Soweto 41His mother said they’d been woken up about three a.m. by the police who took him away...‘Did they say when he’ll be back, Mama?’
1984 E. Mphahlele Afrika my Music 141Our children have grown up to say, ‘Yes Mama,’ or ‘Yes, Ntate.’
3. Usually with small initial, as a term of reference: a black woman.
1984 Frontline Feb. 37Outside there are several aged mamas selling the same wares from the old-style stalls...Both shop and mamas seem to be doing good business, the mamas selling their apples for one cent less than the shop.
1990 D. Stanley in Frontline Sept. 12Mammoth-breasted mamas shriek at each other, jovially scolding, while selling apples, tomatoes, and oranges from makeshift tables.
‘Mother’.
Prefixed to a woman’s first name; cf. Ma-prefix, Mma-, Mme.
the singer Miriam Makeba, so called because of her importance as a political and cultural figure.
A respectful or familiar term of address.
Used to address any adult woman.
Used to address one’s mother.
a black woman.

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19771994