How to Say Mom in Spanish

Three Methods:Saying "Mamá"Saying "Madre"Using Slang Terms

Every language on the planet has its own way to say "mom" — after all, it's many peoples' very first word. Spanish is no different. Whether you're using the word madre for "mother" or a more colloquial term like mamá for "mom," knowing how to pronounce these words (and when to use them) can be a big help whenever you're in a Spanish-speaking country.

Method 1
Saying "Mamá"

  1. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 1
    Say "mah" with no accent. The closest equivalent in Spanish to "mom" is probably "mamá". Follow the steps in this section to pronounce this word. You'll want to start with a "mah" sound. This nearly rhymes with the English word "raw."
  2. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 2
    Say "MAH" with an accent. Now, say a slightly different "mah" sound (still rhymes with "raw"). This time, put an accent on the syllable. This means basically to say it a little more forcefully, a little longer, and at a little higher pitch.[1] If the first syllable was a "mah," this one is a "MAH."
    • Having trouble with the idea of putting accent on a certain syllable? Use an English example. For instance, if you get angry and say "enough!", the second syllable ("nuff") is accented. You would say "ee-NUFF", but never "EE-nuff." "Mamá" is similar.
  3. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 3
    Put it together. The whole word "mamá" is pronounced "mah-MAH." Again, be sure to stress the second syllable. This will naturally make the first syllable a little quicker and inconsequential — many Spanish speakers use a pronunciation that's closer to "muh-MAH" or "m-MAH."
    • If you use this word in a sentence, use the article "la" for "la mamá." For instance: "La otra mamá es mejor." ("The other mom is better.")
    • "Mamá" is somewhat informal, but it's not crude or derogatory in any way. It's the sort of thing you'd hear a child saying to his or her mother (even if the child is an adult).
  4. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 4
    Don't say "la mama" (no accents). This word is pronounced very similarly to "mamá." The only difference is in the accent: here, the first syllable is stressed ("MAH-mah"). Unfortunately, "mama" means "breast." Most people will know what you mean if you make this mistake, but it's still nice to be able to avoid the embarrassment.

Method 2
Saying "Madre"

  1. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 5
    Say "MAH." In Spanish, the word "madre" means "mother." Start with the same "mah" sound as before (rhymes with "raw").
    • Here, the accent is on the first syllable even though there's no mark over the a. In general, for Spanish words without accent marks that end in a vowel, the second-to-last syllable gets the accent.[2]
  2. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 6
    Say "dray" with a d-like r sound. This syllable should rhyme with "pay." The r sound in Spanish is something that's often a little tricky for English speakers to pronounce properly. The sound you want to use is very light and resembles the English d sound. Thus, the actual pronunciation is a little like "duh-day," with the "duh" being very quick and light.
    • Having trouble with the Spanish r? Try using your tongue differently than you would in English. Normally, you'd say your rs at the back of your throat, but this time try to pronounce them by touching your tongue to the front of the roof of your mouth. Flick it towards the middle part of the roof of your mouth as you say "duh-day."
  3. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 7
    Put it together. The word "madre" all together should sound like "MAH-duh-day." Again, the middle "duh" should be as short and delicate as possible.
    • This is a more formal way to say "mom," but it's still sometimes used similarly to "mamá." "Madre" is used almost exactly like "mother" is in English. The rare exception is in some Mexican dialects where the word is used as a slang term for "uncool" or "failed."[3]
    • Again, if you're using this word as a noun in a sentence, you should use the article "la." For instance: "La madre dijo, 'limpia tu habitación.'" ("The mother said, 'clean your room.'")

Method 3
Using Slang Terms

  1. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 8
    Use "mamí" as a flirtatious way to say "momma." You may already be familiar with this term from Latin music and pop culture. This comes from informal terms for "mom," but it's not something you'll want to say to your actual mother. This term is used a lot like you'd use "baby," "honey," or "sexy" in English. It's an affectionate term for your lover or significant other — again, not your mom.[4]
    • The pronunciation here is roughly "mah-mee" (very similar to the English "mommy").
  2. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 9
    Use "vieja" for "old lady." In English, "old lady" is sometimes used as a slang term for someone's wife or girlfriend. You can do the same thing in Spanish with "vieja" (literally "old woman").[5] However, like in English, this isn't always the most polite way to refer to someone, so you may only want to use it when you're with your friends.
    • The pronunciation here is "vee-AY-ha." The first syllable rhymes with "bee," the second with "play," and the third with "raw." Put the accent on the second syllable ("AY").
  3. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 10
    Try "jefa" or for something like "governess" or "boss woman." This term is derived from the word for "boss" ("jefe"), but it's also sometimes used as an informal slang term for "mom." This is used both by children for their mothers and by spouses for their wives.
    • The pronunciation here is "HAY-fah." The first syllable rhymes with "play" and the second with "raw." Remember that, in Spanish, js are pronounced like English hs.
  4. Image titled Say Mom in Spanish Step 11
    Use "-ita" as a diminutive. Adding "-ita" to the end of a word (or "-ito" if you're talking about a man) makes the word have a "cute," "little" quality. It's very similar to putting a "-y" at the end of a word in English (e.g., "mom" vs. "mommy"). This isn't very formal, so you'll want to use it mostly with people you're already comfortable around. If the word ends with a vowel, you will sometimes need to put a c before "-ita" or get rid of the vowel. Here is a good article on Spanish diminutives.[6]
    • This is pronounced "EE-tah" (almost like "Rita" without the r). Below are a few examples of words from this article turned diminutive:
    • Mamacita ("Mah-mah-SEE-tah")
    • Viejita ("vee-ay-HEE-tah")
    • Jefacita ("hay-fah-SEE-tah")


  • Replacing m with p will turn some of these words into the Spanish words for dads. For instance, "madre" becomes "padre" ("father") and "mamá" becomes "papá" ("dad").
  • Pronouncing these words just like how a real Spanish speaker would is crucial for "selling" them. This site has a very extensive guide to Spanish pronunciation that can be very helpful.[7]

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Categories: Spanish