Our mother’s are women who deserve our respect! After all, they did birth us and give us the gift of life. Therefore, it’s important we both respect them and address them by the proper term. Although, this raises the question – is it correct to write “mom” or “mum”?
Should I Use “Mom” Or “Mum”?
Grammatically speaking, both the term “mom” and “mum” are correct. However, the specific spelling you use depends entirely on your nationality and your pronunciation of the word. If you’re in the UK, you’ll often use “mum”, however, if you’re in the US, you’ll probably use “mom”.
Both “mom” and “mum” are considered short forms for other terms. “Mom” is considered to be a noun, shortened from the word “mother” or “mommy”. A “mother” is defined as the female parent or matriarch of the family.
Contrastingly, “mum” is considered to be both a noun and an adjective. “Mum” can be a shortened version of either “mother” or “mummy” – carrying a similar definition to “mom”. When we use “mum” in this context, it is considered to be a noun.
However, “mum” used as a noun, does take on another meaning. “Mum” is also the commonly used short form of “Chrysanthemum”, a type of flower that is often grown for decorative purposes.
As an adjective, “mum” is considered a synonym to the word “silent”, essentially meaning to remain quiet. We often see it utilized in the phrase “mums the word”.
Should I Use “Mom” Or “Mum” In British English?
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “mum” is more often the accepted spelling in British English. From the 1800s to the present day, “mum” has consistently been the more utilized term than that of “mom”. However, the difference between the two terms’ popularity, has at times, been marginal at best.
This means that both terms are utilized in British English, with the usage of both terms steadily increasing over time. This is often because the term’s use is more publicly documented in recent decades, than that of timeframes before.
At the same time, there are parts of Britain that use the spelling “mam”, short for “mammy”. This spelling has much to do with a heavy Scottish, Irish and Welsh influence. While this spelling is very region-specific, it is still worth noting.
Should I Use “Mom” Or “Mum” In American English?
As shown by Google Ngram Viewer, “mom” is more often the accepted spelling in American English. Unlike the previous graph, the use of the term “mum” was at times, more popular than that of “mom”. However, in recent decades, “mom” is a vastly utilized term.
In both the early and late 1800s, as well as from 1900 to approximately 1980, “mum” was the more popular term. This is more than likely due to a large population of British, and other British English-using immigrants. With large portions of the United States having English nationality or heritage, it is not shocking to see the term “mum” is so commonly used.
In recent decades, the term “mom” has inclined in popularity tremendously. It is to the point that in the present day, the term “mum” is barely seen or used in America. This is especially true in terms of public documentation, like textbooks.
Is “Mom” Or “Mum” Used The Most Outside Of The UK And The US?
As recorded by Google Ngram Viewer, in all other predominately English-speaking countries, the term “mom” is more commonly used in the present day. However, this was not always the case, with “mum” often being the more popularly used spelling. Both terms are viewed as acceptable to many English speakers.
From 1800 until about 1980, both “mom” and “mum” were being utilized, with the difference in popularity being incredibly minuscule. After 1980, “mom” steadily increased in usage and popularity, while the use of “mum” remained quite consistent, gaining slight traction after 2000.
Should I Use “Mom” Or “Mum” In Australia?
In general, the spelling “mum” is more commonly used in Australia. This has an abundance to do with a heavy British influence on Australia, especially considering they are a part of the British Commonwealth. Also, because of their accent, Australian’s pronounce “mum” as sounding like an extended “mummm”.
However, this is not to say that the spelling “mom” is not used in Australia. It entirely depends on the unique family, their heritage, etc.
Should I Use “Mom” Or “Mum” In Canada?
In Canada, both “mom” and “mum” are used, as well as “Maman” for those who predominantly speak French. Much like Australia, Canada also has a heavy British influence, also being part of the British Commonwealth. However, Canada also has an American influence, being their close neighbour to the south.
The specific spelling and pronunciations of “mom”, “mum”, and “Maman” are often regional specific in Canada. The spelling “mom” is the most popular, being used in the vast majority of provinces and territories throughout the country.
The spelling “mum” is more commonly seen on the east coast of Canada. This is because the maritime provinces are very heavily influenced by countries overseas like Britain and Ireland. Provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador have thick accents, quite consistent sounding with countries overseas.
Finally, the “Maman” is predominantly used in the province of Quebec. This is the leading French-speaking province in Canada, having an entirely different pronunciation and accent than that of the rest of the country.
Trick To Never Get “Mom” vs. “Mum” Wrong Again
Since both “mom” and “mum” are consistent in their meaning, it is often difficult for folks to remember when to use one or the other. To make things easier for future use, we will go over an easy trick to help differentiate the use of the individual spellings.
One of the easiest ways to differentiate the two is to focus on the British English spelling of the word “mum”.
- First, try to remember that British English comes from England.
- Second, England is a part of the United Kingdom
- Third, remember that “United” begins with “U”
- Finally, try to remember the British English spelling of “mum” also contains a “u”.
Therefore, since both the United Kingdom and “mum” contain a “U”, we can use this specific letter as a trick to remind us of the correct term. Because of this handy trick, we’re easily able to remember the American version is “mom”.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.