What's the difference between these two? Is мама considered "childish"?

  • Surely these words are in a dictionary, but the значения tag says it is for words that are not. If this tag is appropriate here, then the description is misleading & should probably clarify that it also applies to nuances that are not in a dictionary. If it is inappropriate, then it should be removed.
    – PJTraill
    Sep 5, 2019 at 19:24

3 Answers 3


Not at all. "Мать" is "mother", "мама" is "mom", and "мамочка" is 'mommy' respectively, with word preference following the same rules (formal vs. informal) as in English. Usually, the way one refers to their own parents when talking about them ("мама"/"папа" vs. "мать"/"отец") quite clearly indicates the actual closeness of their relationship and the level of comfort within the family. Less intelligent folks may even go as low as "мамка"/"батя", but those are almost derogatory. Children always use мама/папа no matter what.

In official context or when talking about non-human subjects, 'мать' is always used.

  • 5
    Насчёт "бати" я бы поспорил. У моего друга отец - ни дать, ни взять - батя. Вот прям не назовёшь по-другому :). И сам друг его так величает, будучи очень воспитанным и вполне образованным человеком. А вот "мамка" - это уже такое себе, да. В целом со всем согласен. Nov 20, 2017 at 13:54
  • Прибежали в избу дети Второпях зовут отца: Тятя! Тятя! Наши сети Притащили мертвеца!
    – Alexander
    Nov 23, 2017 at 0:18
  • And about non-human subjects - computer motherboard and female plug can both be colloquially called "мама".
    – Alexander
    Nov 23, 2017 at 0:20

"Мать" is used in business speech and documents, but "мама" is used in everyday speech and when we talk with the mother or talking about her.


"Мать" is used in everyday speech too. For example, my mother often call herself "мать". As usual, first word of child is "мама". I think, it is easy to say.

  • My wife calls her female friends "мать"
    – alex.k
    Nov 27, 2017 at 14:46

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