Which is the correct spelling of mom/mum in the UK?

People are saying that Mom is the correct spelling and that it’s not American, while others are saying it’s Mum and that Mom is American.

So which is the correct spelling for the UK?


Both spellings are correct and derive from mommy and mummy. According to Ngram, Mom/mom is the more common spelling in AmE, while Mum/mum is more common in BrE:

Mom :

  • 1867, American English, perhaps a shortening of mommy; also see mamma. Adjectival phrase mom and pop dates from 1951.


  • pet word for “mother,” 1823, short for mummy (see mamma). In British sociology, used from 1957 in reference to “the working class mother as an influence in the lives of her children.” Also sometimes a vulgar corruption of madam.


It is worth considering also the related term Mam/mam:

(informal and colloquial) Diminutive of mother.


Possibly either conserved from or influenced by earlier Brythonic language.



We have several informal words for “mother” in English: mum (heard in much of England), mom (heard in much of America), and mam (heard in Ireland and Northern England). But are these actually different words, or are they just, in some sense, the same word?

Although “mum,” “mam,” and “mom” read differently, they’re often pronounced in a very similar way. Here’s a comparison of three different dialects, and their “mom” pronunciations (don’t worry if you aren’t proficient in IPA — I’ll explain after):

  • London: “mum” — [mɐm]

  • General American: “mom” — [mɑm]

  • Manchester, UK: “mam” — [mam]

Whether you understand the IPA symbols above or not, the point is that in these three dialects, the words are quite close in pronunciation. To be fair, there are some regions where this is not the case. In the Western US, for example, mom is often more clearly “mawm.”


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