Maternal insult

insulting reference to someone's mother

A maternal insult (also referred to as a "yo mama" joke) is a reference to a person's mother. This is through the use of phrases such as "your mother" or other variations, often used to insult the target by way of their mother.[1] "Your mother" can be combined with most types of insults, although suggestions of promiscuity are common.[2] One of the purposes of these insults is to incite violence.[3] Slang variants such as "yo mama", "yo momma", "ur mom", "yer ma", "ya mum", "your mum", "ya mudda" or "your mom" are sometimes used, depending on the local dialect.

Historic examples

  • In the Bible, King Joram is greeted by the rebel Jehu with an angry expression about Joram's mother:

When Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?"
And he answered, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?"[4]

Painter: "Y'are a dog."

Apemantus: "Thy mother's of my generation. What's she, if I be a dog?"

(In this example, the implication is that the mother is a "bitch".)

“...of your mother is by the one who has intercourse with her. What/who is it?

(No answer)”

While it cannot be completely deciphered, it is clear some comment is being made about somebody's mother.[6]



  1. Andrew Conway (1994). "You're ugly, your dick is small and everybody's afraid to fuck your mother: The Stand Up Comedian's Response to the Heckler". Maledicta. 11. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  2. Millicent R. Ayoub and Sephen A. Barnett (October–December 1965). "Ritualized Verbal Insult in White High School Culture". The Journal of American Folklore. 78 (310). American Folklore Society: 337–344. doi:10.2307/538441. JSTOR 538441. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  3. Jeffries, Stuart (2006-06-12). "The mother of all insults". London: The Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  4. "2 Kings 9:22". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  5. Maureen O'Connor (10 May 2013). "The Mom Matrix: Tanning Mom, Tiger Mom, Teen Mom". New York Media LLC. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  6. Rolando Pujol (1 February 2012). "Ancient tablet may contain world's oldest 'Yo Mama' joke, along with sex and beer humor". Retrieved 2 October 2015.

Other websites

  • Yo Momma - MTV television show involving the mother-insult style of insult comedy]