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Momma or Mama: Which Is the Correct Word?

by shreyasi datta

You use “Momma” to address your mother, and your friend uses “mama” to refer to their mother. Does this confuse you? Do you sometimes wonder whether Momma or Mama, which one is the correct version? 

If you do, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss in detail – momma or mama; which is the correct word. In addition, we will also tell you the origin of these two words. So if you are interested in knowing momma or mama, which is the correct word, then read on.

Momma or Mama: Which is correct?

If you were wondering which is correct – Momma or Mama, then let us tell you that both words are correct. Both words are informal versions of the word “Mother” and can be used interchangeably in conversation. The use of these two words is more common among young children. But Momma or Mama is also used by some adults who are very close to their mothers.

The reason why Momma or Mama is more popular among young kids is because, all over the world, the first sound that a baby generally learns to make is the ‘m’ sound. This is also one of the reasons the word for mother in most languages starts with “m.” Examples include ‘Ma’ in Hindi, ‘Madre’ in Spanish, ‘Mutter’ in Germany, and so on. 

Momma or Mama

The modern English word “Mother” was derived from the old english word “mōdor,” which in turn comes from the Latin word “mater.”

Most of the informal versions or shortened versions of “Mother,” such as momma or mama, can be traced back to this term. The first recorded use of “Mama” is from the year 1707, whereas the first recorded usage of “Momma” is from the year 1852. 

Since “momma” and “mama” are informal versions of the same word (mother) and the pronunciation is also similar, it is natural to think that the two words mean the same. But there is a subtle difference in the meaning. To know what the difference is, read on.

When To Use Momma

The term Momma is a colloquial or informal version of the word mother. The word is mostly used by toddlers and small children who cannot speak properly yet. But the term is also sometimes used by adults as an endearing way of referring to one’s mother.

When to use Momma

In some cases, the word “Momma” is also used as a slang term to refer to women who are middle-aged or older. Here are some examples of Momma in a sentence – 

  • “All he was concerned about was finding his momma.”
  • “I had no idea why the girl was abusing me suddenly, but my momma raised me right, so I stood there respectfully, listening to her rants.”
  • “Donald wanders into a bear cave and sees a momma bear and a baby bear.”
  • “She was supposed to go over to her momma’s house this morning.”
  • “My momma makes the best pancakes and waffles.”

When To Use Mama

The word “Mama” is mostly used by babies or very young kids while communicating with their mothers. This is because babies and toddlers who are just learning to speak find the word “Mama” easier to pronounce compared to the word “mother” or any other versions of it, such as “mum” or “mom.” 

When to use Mama

Babies and toddlers use the word “mama” to catch their mother’s attention when they are hungry, sick, or feeling uncomfortable in general. Unlike “Momma,” the word “Mama” is hardly used by any adults. 

Here Are Some Examples Of “Mama” In A Sentence: 

  • “Mama Bird will be back to feed them.”
  • “When the salmon return to the rivers, you often see mama bears and cubs catching fish along the banks.”
  • “Daisy took Destiny to see a Disney movie, saying that Mama needed some time to herself.”
  • “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

When Not To Use Mama or Momma?

Both the words “Mama” and “Momma” are informal ways of referring to one’s mother. They can be used in informal conversations as a term of endearment or respect. However, they should not be used in formal writing. Such as academic term papers, or while sending an email to your teacher/professor/manager at work and the like. In case of any formal writing, you should only use the word “mother.”

How To Write The Word, Mama or Momma?

When using the words Mama or Momma in writing to refer to your mom or someone else’s mom, you may get confused as to whether or not you should capitalize the two words. The rules for capitalization for Mama or Momma are the same as any other word in the English Language. 

If Mama or Mama is used as a proper noun, as in used to talk about a specific mother (yours or someone else’s), then the words should be capitalized. If any of the two words is the first word in a sentence, then also the words should be capitalized. In any other case, the words can be written in all small letters.

Wrapping Up!

So to wrap up, “momma” or “mama” both are correct and can be used in informal conversations to refer to one’s mother. This is because the word you use to address your mother is incredibly personal. So as long as you and your mother are both okay with the term, it does not matter what word you use and whether it is grammatically correct or not. It can be anything – Momma, mama, mommy, mom, mommy, ma, and the like. Lastly, the country you and your mother are from also plays a huge role in deciding what word you will use to refer to your mother. 

If you have any more questions about the spelling of these two words then let us know in the comments below!


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