Aunty vs. Auntie: What’s the Difference?

Did you call your friend’s mother your aunty? While that may not have been an insult, it can be not very clear if you’re not sure what the difference between aunty and auntie is. Both words describe an older woman you’re close to who has taken on the role of aunt to you or your family members.

But there are differences between these two terms that you’ll want to keep in mind. The good news? No matter which word you use, both of them mean that you have a fantastic relationship with this lady!

Main Difference

What’s the difference between “Aunty” and “Auntie”? The words are used interchangeably in some parts of the world but have different meanings. “Aunty” is typically used to describe an older woman who is not a relative, while “Auntie” is used to describe a female relative. So, if you want to be specific, you can use “Auntie” to refer to your mother’s sister or father’s sister, while “Aunty” can be used for anyone else.

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What is Aunty?

Aunty is a word used to describe an older woman who is related to you. It can be used as a term of endearment or respect and is often used by younger women to refer to their elders. In contrast, Auntie is traditionally used in English-speaking countries to address someone’s aunt. The term may also be applied more generally to an older woman with whom one has a close relationship.

What is Auntie?

Auntie is a term of endearment used in Polynesian cultures, typically for an older woman who is respected for her wisdom and life experience. In some cases, Auntie can also refer to a female friend or family member who is not related by blood.

So what is Aunty?: The spelling aunty was initially derived from auntie to describe the same relationship as an aunt. However, over time it has become more commonplace among speakers of British English to use aunty instead of auntie. Interestingly, this trend began as far back as 1937 when Moses Supposes His Toeses Are Roses was published and illustrated by Arthur Szyk.


  • In the United States, both aunty and auntie can be used to refer to a woman who is related to you by blood or marriage, but in other English-speaking countries, aunty is used more broadly to refer to an older woman.
  • Tita is used in the same way in the Philippines.
  • In India, for example, aunty is a term of respect for any woman who is older than you, even if she’s not related to you.


Aunty and auntie both refer to the sister of one’s parent, or more generally, to an older woman who is related to one by blood or marriage. In some cases, aunty can also be used as a respectful way to address an older woman who is not related to you.

Similarities: Aunty vs. Auntie

Both aunty and auntie can refer to a woman who is related to you by blood or marriage, typically one who is older than you. Both terms can also be used more broadly to refer to an older woman, especially one who is seen as a kindly mother figure.

Differences: Aunty vs. Auntie

  • Aunty is the more familiar term, while auntie is more formal.
  • An aunty is typically an older woman, while an auntie can be any age.
  • An aunty is usually someone related to you, while an auntie can be anyone from a family friend to your boss.
    If you’re not sure which term to use, err on the side of caution and go with aunty.

Differences in Pronunciation: Aunty vs. Auntie

The two words are pronounced differently depending on which region of your world. In North America, aunty is typically pronounced like an ant without the t sound at the end, while auntie is more like awe-by. In other parts of the world, both words may be pronounced with a long or short sound.

Family Members by Relationship: Aunty vs. Auntie

Most people in the United States use the word aunt to refer to the sister of one of their parents. On the other hand, Auntie is used more commonly in some parts of Asia and Africa to refer to any older woman who is not related by blood. In India, for example, an aunty might be a neighbor, a family friend, or even a stranger.

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Family Members by Gender: Aunty vs. Auntie

Generally, when we refer to a family member, we use the term corresponding to their gender. So, for example, we would tell uncle when referring to a male family member and aunt when referring to a female family member. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. For example, some families may use the term aunty for both male and female members.

Comparison Chart Between Aunty and Auntie

Basis of Distinction Aunty
Definition A relative that has at least 25% of the genetic relationship with the person. A genetic connection is close to the person who can call them their relative.
Connection Aunty is considered the colloquial term for Aunt. Auntie is considered the casual term for Aunty.
Usage Mostly used in British English Mostly used in American English
Origin In the early 18th century In 1970’s


In conclusion, there is no real difference between the two words. They can both refer to a woman who is related to you by blood or marriage. The only time you might use one over the other is if you want to be more specific about the relationship or if you prefer one word over the other.