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mama

noun; derivation
It’s a term that one may call a friend that is female. This term is used especially by a female talking with another female friend. Obviously, the girl that my friend was referring to was not her actual mama. The term was instead used as a term of endearment that is probably used between good friends. Although in this case the word mama hasn’t gone through a semantic shift due to pejoration, like the word heifer that was previously mentioned, because it still has a positive meaning, it seems to have gone through some sort of semantic shift, which is called “widening”.
 
I was a little confused when I first heard a friend talking to another girl and whom she addressed as mama. She was trying to comfort a friend and said, “Hey mama, what’s wrong?”.
Etymology : It seems to have gone through some sort of semantic shift, which is called widening. The meaning of mama doesn’t just mean the woman that gave birth to you, but instead it can also be used to mean someone who is a close friend. The meaning of the word mama in this instance has become generalized to other meanings beside the meaning of mama in the original sense of the word.
Source : friend "S"
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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