Has mother become politically incorrect? The word mom now seems to have replaced mother throughout popular news articles.

Is there some reason besides political correctness, which until now has always seemed to have been connected to racism, no matter how tenuous the connection, or have I missed something?

  • 3
    I only call her "mother" when I simultaneously roll my eyes at something she said, as in "Oh, mother!" Dec 21, 2012 at 0:49
  • 7
    I think OP has got it the wrong way around. It's not that mother has "fallen out of favour". It's that the popular press have reached the point where they no longer feel that mom (mum in the UK) sounds excessively "downmarket" or childish. Dec 21, 2012 at 1:13
  • 4
    "... throughout popular news articles." Care to cite references? The whole question stands on this premise, so it can crumble as a NARQ unless the claim is substantiated.
    – Kris
    Dec 21, 2012 at 6:17
  • I do recall reading an article in the Times (long ago) about family life which managed to avoid using the words mother and father throughout (they were female parent and male parent) so there may be something in the notion. Dec 21, 2012 at 8:51
  • @FumbleFingers: ...even though it does sound silly! But then, the press... Feb 3, 2013 at 22:34

2 Answers 2


Here are the usage stats from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (number of instances per million words, by context):


mother      281      939      287       253      134 
mom         125      204      102        59        6

And now the same stats sorted by year:

         1990–1994 1995–1999 2000–2004 2005–2009 2010–2012

mother      361       413       382       359       353 
mom          58        94       103       122       139

While we're at it, for a more complete picture, let's also check the Corpus of Historical American English:

enter image description here

(X axis: year, Y axis: incidences per million words)

What we can see is that mom has indeed been gaining ground, but it's nowhere near surpassing mother.

And if you think that mom is more politically correct than mother, you must be forgetting "your mom" jokes.


Mother is not politically incorrect. Mom is just a shorter, friendlier term for the same person.

Consider the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They're political, but certainly not incorrect.

  • A kinder, gentler term.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:54

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