Mothers, the women to whom we owe not only our lives, but also our admiration. Throughout the course of our lives, they’ve raised and protected us. In Latin America, we have many ways to refer to our Mom in Spanish, and there’s a good reason for that.
Us Latinos, as you probably know, are famous for being warm and familiar people; we make friends quite easily and love our blood relatives to death.
As you read through this article, you’ll stumble upon a couple of expressions that you may find familiar, and run into some others you’ve probably never heard before in your life. These are 15 ways to say Mom in Spanish.
The most common and formal word used by Spanish speakers when addressing their birth-givers. This is normally used in very formal situations, and it was more usual to hear it a couple of decades ago all throughout Latin America.
A couple of generations ago, calling your mother “Mamá”, instead of “Mom” was considered disrespectful; however, as time has passed, it has become acceptable.
Now, let’s pretend for a moment that we’ve gone back in time to the 19th century; if you were to ask your Mom for a puppy, it would go something like this:
- “Madre, me siento muy solo, ¿podría tener un cachorro?” : “Mom, I’m very lonely, may I get a puppy?”
A term of endearment, directly derived from “Madre”, but in a diminutive form. Remember that in Spanish, the suffixes “ito”, and “ita” are used to refer to something smaller than the original word.
- Casa : Casita
- House : Little House
“Madrecita” is a popular way to call your Mom in Spanish when you don’t want the coldness of “Mamá”, but you also want to avoid utilizing a more informal slang word like “Jefa” (see below).
This word, along with “Mamita”, which we’ll discuss later on, are the closest equivalents to “Mommy”.
- “Madrecita, tengo mucha hambre, ¿puedes comprarme una hamburguesa?” : “Mommy, I’m starving. Can you buy me a hamburger?”
This is probably one of the first words you learned during your High School Spanish classes, I know you already know this one!
Simple, and popular. “Mamá” is the standard word to call your Mom in Spanish.
- “Mamá, mi hermana me está molestando, ¡por favor dile que pare!” : “Mom, my sister is bothering me, please tell her to stop!”
When I was little, my mom must’ve heard this sound come out of my mouth more times than she cares to remember.
If you had been born somewhere in Latin America, you would’ve found yourself calling for your “Mami” every time you got scared or couldn’t get down from a tree you climbed.
“Mami” and “Mommy” are perfect equivalents; they even sound the same!
- “¡Mami, ven por favor, hay un monstruo en mi armario!” : “Mommy, please come quick, there’s a monster in my closet!”
Ever felt so tired and slothful that even talking seems like a chore? Well, us Latin Americans certainly have! Thus, the existence of “Má”.
This word is much less formal than “Madre”, and is widely used across Spanish-speaking countries.
Bear in mind, though, that you should only use “Má” to refer to your Mom in Spanish when talking directly to her, never when talking to others about her.
- “Má, saldré con mis amigos, ¡te veo más tarde!” : “Mom, I’m going out with my friends, see you later!” CORRECT USE.
- “El otro día, mi Má se enojó conmigo” : “The other day, my Mom got mad at me”. WRONG USE.
“Mamita”, also commonly used as “Mamacita”, is the diminutive form of “Mami”.
But, Let me warn you, people also use “mamacita” to call a woman beautiful, in a different context of course.
Being mothers is such a special part of our lives, it makes sense that many of the words mentioned in this list are terms of endearment.
Us Latin Americans are very family-driven, which means that we’re always looking for cute ways to call our Mom in Spanish.
- “He llegado a ser quien soy gracias a ti, Mamita. Te amo” : “I’ve become who I am today thanks to you, Mommy. I love you”.
An expression that is most popular in Mexico. While it’s also used in other Latin American countries, the Aztec’s descendants coined it first.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone in Mexico City that uses this word to call their Mom in Spanish, but if you’re ever feeling adventurous and visit the country’s provinces and rural areas, you’ll definitely hear it.
If you ever visit Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacán, for example, a common conversation between a mother and her son would go something like this:
- “Amá, ¿dónde quedaron mis juguetes?” : “Mom, where are my toys?”
- “Lo siento, hijo, ya eres muy grande para esas cosas, los doné” : “Sorry dear, you’re too old for that stuff, I donated them”.
- “Amá, ¡no es justo!” : “Mom, it’s not fair!”
I’m gonna level with you. I can probably count with the fingers of my right hand the times I’ve heard this expression being used in a normal conversation.
This word exists as a variation of “Mami”,
If you ever find yourself at a party with Spanish-speaking attendees, pull out this bizarre word and dazzle everyone there.
It’s more likely to be heard in children, when they’re making pronunciation mistakes tryíng to say “mami”.
- “Amami, ¡no quiero ir a la escuela!” : “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school!”
Colombian mothers are just as special as all mothers in Latin America, but they get to have this word almost exclusively reserved for them.
“Cucha”, or “Cuchita”, just like “Mami”, or “Mamita”, is yet another expression used as a term of endearment from sons and daughters to their mothers.
- “Le voy a llevar un regalo a la cuchita. Yo nunca le doy nada y la cucha merece lo mejor”: I’m going to get a present for mom. I never give anything to my mother, and she deserves the best”
10. Mi vieja – Mi viejita
There comes a time in every person’s life, when our parents start ageing. We see their hair grow greyer, and their faces show more wrinkles.
This is when we can start using “Mi Vieja/Mi Viejita” to call our Mom in Spanish.
The word “vieja/viejo” means “old woman/old man”, so this expression basically means “my old woman”.
There are several countries in Latin America that utilize this word to describe elder mothers; however, in some of them, like Mexico, “vieja” is also used to vulgarly and disrespectfully refer to a woman of any age, so use it responsibly.
- “¡Ay, cómo extraño a mi viejita, ya tiene dos años que se nos fue!” : “Oh, how I miss my mom, she’s been gone for two years already”
11. La mujer que me dió a luz
With the literal translation being: “the woman that gave birth to me”, this expression leaves nothing unsaid.
While pretty self-explanatory, this long way to call your Mom in Spanish is not casually dropped into everyday conversations.
Normally, it can be used when trying to talk poetically, or in an exaggerated manner.
- “El mismo año en el que el hombre pisó la luna, nacía la mujer que me dió a luz” : “On the very same year mankind landed on the moon, the woman who gave birth to me, was born”.
12. La señora de la casa
This one always makes me giggle. You know how your aunts and uncles joke around saying your mom wears the pants around the house? Well, in most cases, they’re right!
In many households and families, while at first it may look like Dad’s calling the shots, in reality, it’s Mom who says what goes. This is where this expression comes from.
“La señora de la casa”, is a comical expression coined to denote that Mom’s the boss. It literally translates to: “Lady of the house”.
- “Oye, Bob, ¿vendrás a la noche de póker mañana?” : “Hey, Bob, are you coming to poker night tomorrow?
- “¡No lo sé, Rick! Depende de lo que diga la señora de la casa : I’m not sure, Rick, that depends on the lady of the house (Bob’s wife).
13. La Matrona
Like most modern-age babies, I was born in a hospital. I cried my lungs out surrounded by medical paraphernalia, doctors, and nurses; and while this may have been your case too, it wasn’t always like that.
Back in the day; you know, when babies were born in houses? There were women called “midwives” that aided in the birthing process and helped the baby come out.
Sadly, this profession is no longer active, but the name and its meaning acquired a very particular use.
“La Matrona”, or “partera”, which is the Spanish word for “midwife”, is now widely used across Latin America to refer to a Mom in Spanish. This, mainly due to the similarities between one and the other.
Midwives were responsible for keeping babies safe and caring for them, which is exactly what mothers do.
Today, though, if someone says the word “Matrona”, a woman with authority immediately comes to the mind of Spanish native speakers.
- “La Matrona me regañó el otro día por llegar tarde” : “My mom scolded me the other day for being late”
14. Jefa – Jefaza
There are few words on this list as informal, and at the same time as widely accepted, as this one.
“Jefa”, or “Boss” in English, is widely used across Mexican territory to refer to a Mom in Spanish. There is also the variation “Jefaza”, which means the same, but adds a new layer of informality to the conversation.
Just like “Amá”, this word is most commonly used by people of rural areas that normally employ slang words more often.
- “Jefa, no sea mala, ¡déjeme ir a la fiesta!” : “Mom, don’t be mean, let me go to the party!”
15. La mera mera
What better way to homage mothers than finishing this list with this expression. “La mera mera” is the ultimate informal sign of respect and appreciation towards one’s mother.
The most accurate translation to English would be “The best of ‘em all”.
“La mera mera”, just like “Má” is not meant to be used when talking to your mother, but rather when talking about her to others.
- “Ya iba a ver a mi novia, y de pronto llegó la mera mera y me dijo que no podía irme de la casa hasta limpiar mi cuarto” : “ I was on my way to see my girlfriend, when my Mom said I couldn’t leave the house until I tidied up my room”
Mothers are wonderful. They’re the angels that hold our hand and lead us through this road called “life”.
No matter where you’re from, be it from the cold fjords of Norway, or the warm shores of Rio de Janeiro, your Mom is definitely one of the most important people in your life.
The next time you plan a holiday (that I hope you invite your Mom to), or meet a native Spanish-speaker, practice your newly acquired words and impress everyone that can understand them!
While this list is very brief and full of common slang and expressions to refer to your Mom in Spanish, the language is very vast, and it’s quite likely that I might’ve missed several others that exist.
This is an open community, so share with me in the comments below any other words you know to refer to your Mom in Spanish!