Word Origin & History
c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. aunte, from O.Fr. ante (Mod.Fr. tante, from a 13c. variant), from L. amita "paternal aunt" dim. of *amma a baby-talk or non-I.E. word for "mother" (cf. Gk. amma "mother," O.N. amma "grandmother," M.Ir. ammait "old hag," Heb. em, Arabic umm "mother"). Extended senses include "an
old woman, a gossip" (1580s); "a procuress" (1670s); and "any benevolent woman," in Amer.Eng., where auntie
was recorded since c.1790 as "a term often used in accosting elderly women."