Your mom is part of a specific group of verbal offenses, called maternal insults. These insults are specifically fabricated to make comments on someone’s mother, making them an extremely offensive form of disrespect.
The term can be applied on itself, or by following it up with a farfetched attribute of the insulted person’s mother. These attributes, though, are oftentimes actually not possessed by the mother, and are meant in an ironic way.
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It is believed that maternal insults have been used since ancient times.
Written evidence suggests that the insult of this kind derives from a Babylonian plate from 15th century B.C.E.
One good example for an early modern your mom joke would be a dialogue from a Shakespearean play from the 1600s, where one of the characters utters during a scene: “Thy mother’s of my generation. What’s she, if I be a dog?”
Spread and Usage
Disrespecting someone by calling out on their mother has always been present in common language use.
Hundreds of jokes have been created that have the phrase your mother in their crosshair.
From the 90s, with the hip hop subculture gaining ground, verbal clashes became a prominent element of pop-culture. Music tracks, even albums, often revolved around mom jokes, such as The Pharcyde formation’s 1991 demo album, which was given the title “Ya Mama“.
A compilation of “Yo mama jokes” was published by PublicRadio in 1997.
In 2007 the term was added to Urban Dictionary by publisher That ballin’ kid, explaining the phenomenon through examples.
Another milestone in the history of maternal insults would be when the catchphrase “that’s what she said” was introduced to the public.
- Urban Dictionary – Your Mom