Is there a common way to translate ajhumma/ajumma into Chinese? I've been looking but haven't seen a word in Chinese that carries the meaning the ajhumma has.

For example, ajhumma can mean:

  • Married woman (or woman old enough to be married)
  • Older woman
  • Unfashionable woman (implied)

I am looking specifically for the way one would address an 'older lady' (with that meaning in mind) but not be rude.

  • 阿姨 would be the most common.
    – user4452
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 14:36
  • "師奶" is a polite way to address a married woman in Cantonese. A 師奶 is usually a housewife, not too wealthy or fashionable .
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 14:47
  • Thank you both. I think 阿姨 works for the positive use of ajhumma I was looking for since I was using it to indicate marriageable age rather than actually being married. Out of curiosity, do you know what would be used if the word ajhumma was being used negatively (as in sarcastically or implying one is old or unfashionable)? I feel like the options above would be too polite for someone being sarcastic. Also I think I can't accept a comment as a chosen answer so if you post an answer post, I could accept it.
    – Symbio
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 15:00
  • 大嬏 is similar to 阿姨 - a woman old enough to marry. It contains less fondness than 阿姨, (calling someone 阿姨 imply you regard the woman on the level of you regard your mother's sister). 大嬏 is similar to 師奶, it is usually used to address a mature woman (married or not) who is not too wealthy or fashionable.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


As one can understand from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajumma an ajumma (아줌마) is a respectful word for a married or aged married woman, or for any middle-aged or elderly woman, but not a granny, nor a young woman. It is an aunt.

An ajumma is often a housewife, restaurant worker. Ajumma can be used pejoratively.

In Chinese, 阿姨 would fit the description rather well. It is an aunt, or an elderly woman, family nurse or babysitter. Pejoratively, it means concubine.

  • 2
    Pejoratively, it means concubine 阿姨 doesn't actually carry the meaning of "concubine/mistress" When someone address his or her father's mistress, 阿姨 is the only logical choice beside calling her by name. In older time when men are allowed more than one wife, the second or third wife would be called 二娘,三娘 ( second mom, third mom) by the man's children, and outsiders would call them 二太太,三太太, or more formal, 二夫人,三夫人 .
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 20:10
  • Actually, 二太太,三太太 are polite/ formal terms, regrading them as second Mrs. and third Mrs. ; The common terms for a men's second and third wife are 二姨太,三姨太, regrading them as the first wife's "younger sisters" maybe the "姨" part in the term caused someone to mistakenly thought 阿姨 meant concubine.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 3:50
  • 在古代中国一夫一妻多妾家庭中,子女也会称庶母(父亲的妾)为“姨娘”或“阿姨”,相信是引申自“母亲的妹妹”的本义。“姨娘”之前若加上所称呼的女性的娘家姓氏,则是称呼他人的妾侍,如《红楼梦》的赵姨娘和周姨娘。 baike.baidu.com/view/237932.htm
    – user4452
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 7:07

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