A maternal insult is a reference to a person's mother through the use of phrases such as "your mother" or other regional variants, frequently used to insult the target by way of their mother.
An insult is an expression or statement which is disrespectful or scornful.
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preys on widespread sentiments of filial piety, making the insult particularly and globally offensive.
In Confucian philosophy, filial piety is a virtue of respect for one's parents, elders, and ancestors.
"Your mother" can be combined with most types of insults, although suggestions of promiscuity are particularly common.
Promiscuity is the practice of having casual sex frequently with different partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners.
Insults based on obesity, height, hairiness, laziness, incest, age, race, poverty, poor hygiene, unattractiveness, or stupidity may also be used.
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health.
Height is the measure of vertical distance, either how "tall" something or someone is, or how "high" the position is.
Laziness is a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to act or exert oneself.
Compared to other types of insults, "your mother" insults are especially likely to incite violence.
Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation", although the group acknowledges that the inclusion of "the use of power" in its definition expands on the conventional understanding of the word.
Slang variants such as "yo mama", "yo momma", "yer ma", "ya mum", "your mum" or "your mom" are sometimes used, depending on the local dialect.
Insults involving "your mother" are commonly used when playing the Dozens.
The Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in black communities of the United States, where participants insult each other until one gives up.
Although the phrase has a long history of including a description portion, such as the old "your mother wears combat boots", the phrase "yo mama" by itself, without any qualifiers, has become commonly used as an all-purpose insult or an expression of defiance.