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 (ä′yə, ā′ə, ī′ə)
A housemaid or children's nurse in South Asia.

[Hindi āyā, from Portuguese aia, nursemaid, from Latin avia, grandmother; see awo- in Indo-European roots.]


(Professions) (in the East, Africa, and other parts of the former British Empire) a maidservant, nursemaid, or governess, esp one of Indian or Malay origin. Compare amah
[C18: from Hindi āyā, from Portuguese aia, from Latin avia grandmother]


(ˈɑ yə)

(in India) an Indian nursemaid or lady's maid.
[1775–85; < Hindi āyā < Portuguese aia maidservant < Latin avia grandmother]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ayah - (in India) a native nursemaid who looks after childrenayah - (in India) a native nursemaid who looks after children
Bharat, India, Republic of India - a republic in the Asian subcontinent in southern Asia; second most populous country in the world; achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1947
domestic, domestic help, house servant - a servant who is paid to perform menial tasks around the household
References in classic literature ?
She never remembered seeing familiarly anything but the dark faces of her Ayah and the other native servants, and as they always obeyed her and gave her her own way in everything, because the Mem Sahib would be angry if she was disturbed by her crying, by the time she was six years old she was as tyrannical and selfish a little pig as ever lived.
One frightfully hot morning, when she was about nine years old, she awakened feeling very cross, and she became crosser still when she saw that the servant who stood by her bedside was not her Ayah.
The woman looked frightened, but she only stammered that the Ayah could not come and when Mary threw herself into a passion and beat and kicked her, she looked only more frightened and repeated that it was not possible for the Ayah to come to Missie Sahib.
But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come.
The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts.
She wondered also who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead.
When Tony and his sister arrived they wanted to go straight to the pond, but their ayah said they must take a sharp walk first, and as she said this she glanced at the time-board to see when the Gardens closed that night.
Maimie admired him more than ever for being afraid of nothing but their ayah, when there were so many unknown terrors to fear, and she said aloud, "Tony, I shall race you to the gate," and in a whisper, "Then you can hide," and off they ran.
When the ayah reached the gate and saw Tony far in front she thought her other charge was with him and passed out.
How is it that one political state, manned by individuals who are manifestly human beings, will pour the most perilous bombs onto another set of human beings, killing even the loveliest and most innocent children and their mothers and ayahs in that state?
New and returning brands from around the world are available to shoppers at Heya, including Bocan and Lale Devri from Turkey; May Sobh Couture and Samar Secret from Lebanon; Doris Dorothea from Indonesia; Nirraamyaa and KD Boutique from India; Caftan lalla Salman and Ayahs Kaftan from Morocco, Pineda Covalin from Mexico, Luna's Abaya, Wlns Cashmere and Soya Eyewear from Italy, and PerretSchaad from Germany.
Hell will settle his account, an evil resting-place" [the Holy Quran, Sura al-Baqara, Ayahs 205-206].