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Especially, the "what's-her-name" part.

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Much used if someone doesn't know the name of the person being talked about.

"I met what's-her-name yesterday".

Usually being used if the person listening also knows the person.

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I think masarah and jhocking pretty much covered it - I would simply add that the joke becomes rather more subtle if one considers that one (usually) knows one's mother's name - but (almost always) never uses it.

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In general that term is used in place of the actual name when the speaker doesn't know the name. Note that it's pretty flippant in tone; if you don't want that tone you would just say "her."

In that context specifically it's being used as a joke, because of the twist of making someone feel special when they can't even remember her name.

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+1 for explaining the joke. It's especially pointed because the person one would normally try to celebrate on Mother's day is, of course, one's mother... –  psmears Apr 24 '11 at 11:27
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