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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɑ yə)

(in India) an Indian nursemaid or lady's maid.
[1775–85; < Hindi āyā < Portuguese aia maidservant < Latin avia grandmother]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
She had not wanted a little girl at all, and when Mary was born she handed her over to the care of an Ayah, who was made to understand that if she wished to please the Mem Sahib she must keep the child out of sight as much as possible.
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.
In the years since, Ayah, 27, has established herself as a London drum and bass label boss, gig promoter, performer and guest on more than 15 records.
Her announcement follows that of Paul Abine Ayah, a ruling party parliamentarian who quit the party this year and said he would also challenge Biya.
Carole opened the show with three of her songs "Ali Ya Ali", "Ya Ma Layali" (So Many Nights) and "Ghali Ali" (Very dear to me) with the contestants on the show Tania, Ayah and Basmah.