I was looking for an idiom / a word in dictionary to explain a child / man / woman who always tell's their problems to their parents because they are not quite capable to deal with their problems or because they are coward. I found one single idiom: "mama’s baby"!

This is exactly what we use in our language! The problem is that we can call both a child or an adult man / woman by this term. I have provided two separated examples which acknowledges that in both cases we use the same expression.

Example 1:

  • Children are playing soccer in the yard and one of them gets a little hurt and goes to his mother and tell his friend on. When he comes back to his playmates, one of them calls him you're a mama’s baby!

Example 2:

  • Imagine a wife and husband who have a quarrel and the they after their debate the wife's mom call's her groom and wants to talk to him and give some advice. Later the husband says to his wife: "Why you told the whole story to you mom? You are really a mom’s baby"

My question is that if it sounds natural in those scenarios to a native speaker's ear? If not, then please let me know what can I use as a replacement for the idiom?

  • 3
    mama's boy/wimp/crybaby/wuss hey are you being paid to translate? Do I get a cut? :wink:
    – WRX
    Feb 2, 2017 at 16:10
  • I agree with @Willow Rex; mama's baby would only be used for a child; but mama's boy can be used for an adult.
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2017 at 16:58
  • @J.R. what about if the adut would be a woman. Then I have to use "mama's girl"?
    – A-friend
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:21
  • @A-friend - You could, but that is not quite so established as an idiom.
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:24
  • 1
    @A-friend - If it were me, I'd use the less-familiar "mama's girl" rather than the less-fitting "mama's boy".
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


"Mamma's baby" is not a phrase commonly used in English. You would more likely hear "mamma's boy" in the situation you described. A better and much more common term would be "tattletale", which would work for both of your examples. A few other words that might work:

  • Snitch (slang for someone who reports others to the authorities, esp. with regard to illegal activity)
  • Crybaby (general insult for a whiner, also a good choice for your examples)
  • Nark (British sp.)/Narc (American sp.) (slang for someone who reports others to the authorities, esp. with regard to illegal activity)

I guess I should just mention that all of these terms would be considered insulting schoolyard taunts.

  • 1
    I might explain the difference in nuance of each of your three suggestions a little. I spell narc with a "c" because I think it comes from "narcotics officer", but I wouldn't say the "k" is wrong. The word has definitely evolved to mean more than it used to.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:44
  • There are lots of other interchangeable words for your suggestions like "rat" or even "sellout", but I am not looking for a noun for someone who tells somebody on. From among all these suggestions, I guess "Crybaby" fits the most because first, it is sexually neutral and then it can convey the message of referring to someone to complain either in the child case or the adult husband scenario. Do you agree? :) MadGab and @ColleenV
    – A-friend
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:27
  • @ColleenV but the other question which comes to mind is that if "crybaby" is like "Mama's baby" which can be used only for children or it is another story here?
    – A-friend
    Feb 2, 2017 at 22:34
  • 1
    @A-friend I agree that crybaby is probably the best word for both examples, and probably the English equivalent of the phrase "mamma's baby" in your language. Hope that helps!
    – Rich
    Feb 2, 2017 at 23:43
  • 2
    @A-friend - I'd say that crybaby can work for children or adults, male or female. It means someone who is complaining about something a lot more than they should be.
    – J.R.
    Feb 2, 2017 at 23:44

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