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"As for me, Madam," said the Duke to the Queen, "I am under no uncertainty in this matter; but as the Princess of Cleves has not the same reasons to lead her to guess who I am, as I have to direct me to know her, I should be glad if your Majesty would be pleased to let her know my name." --La Princesse de Clèves (1678) by Madame de La Fayette

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Madam or ma'am is a title for a woman. It is derived from the French madame, the equivalent of Mrs. or Ms., and literally signifying "my lady." The plural of madam in this sense is mesdames. The French madame is in turn derived from the ancient Latin mea domina meaning honored mistress of the home (domus)



From French madame, from ma ‘my’ + dame ‘lady’, from post-classical Latin mea domina.


  1. A polite form of address for a woman or lady.
    Mrs Grey wondered if the outfit she was trying on made her look fat. The sales assistant just said, “It suits you, madam”.
    Later, Mrs Grey was sitting in her favourite tea shop. “Would madam like the usual cream cakes and patisserie with her tea?” the waitress asked.
  2. The mistress of a household.
  3. (colloquial) A conceited or quarrelsome girl.
    Selina kept pushing and shoving during musical chairs. The nursery school teacher said she was a bad-tempered little madam.
  4. (slang) A woman who runs a brothel.
    After she grew too old to work as a prostitute, she became a madam.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Madam" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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