From Portuguese ama (“female nurse”), from Medieval Latin amma (“wet nurse, amma”), perhaps an alteration of mamma, of imitative origin, or from Ancient Greek.
amah (plural amahs)
- In South Asia, a woman employed to look after children; (formerly) a wet nurse.
- In China and Southeast Asia, a female domestic helper.
- 1977, John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy, Folio Society 2010, p. 20:
- Then one day he disappeared and when Luke called apprehensively at his apartment the old amah told him that ‘Whisky Papa runrun London fastee.’