mama-san

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Japanese ママ with the honorific title さん.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mama-san (plural mama-sans)

  1. A mother, in Japan or East Asia. [from 1900s]
  2. A woman in a position of authority, especially the madam of a geisha bar. [from 1940s]
    • 2000, JG Ballard, Super-Cannes, Fourth Estate 2011, p. 340:
      ‘I had a last go at the film festival, hoping those Thai mammasans would stir you up with some juice kiddy-porn.’
    • 2011, Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 15 Mar 2011:
      "We just get one very small meal – a single rice ball or piece of bread," said Mieko Kono, a hostess bar "mama-san" who looks spectacularly out of place in the municipal office, dolled up as she is in her work clothes of leopard-print top and slacks.