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[mam, mahm; unstressed muh m] /mæm, mɑm; unstressed məm/
madam (def 1).
(in Britain) a term used in addressing the queen or a royal princess.
Origin of ma'am
First recorded in 1660-70; by contraction Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ma'am
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am going to leave your house, ma'am; and I wish to settle any little arrears of rent, &c.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • I like your house, ma'am, only I should think you'd want some windows.

    Little Prudy Sophie May
  • "You speak with a good deal of judgment, ma'am," said he, with the air of a recognised authority on wisdom.

    A Charming Fellow, Volume III (of 3) Frances Eleanor Trollope
  • "I'll do what I can, ma'am, if you will take the blame," replied he.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • Why, ma'am, I made ten thousand pounds by selling the beastliest lemonade you ever tasted for gold-dust at the mines.

  • I trust your night's repose may be restful and refreshing to you, ma'am.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • "Yes, ma'am, it's a fine evening for a row," said the faithful Charles.

British Dictionary definitions for ma'am


/mæm; mɑːm; unstressed məm/
short for madam
Usage note
Ma'am is used as a title of respect, especially when addressing female royalty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ma'am

also maam, 1660s, colloquial shortening of madam (q.v.). Formerly the ordinary respectful form of address to a married woman; later restricted to the queen and royal princesses or used by servants to their mistresses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ma'am


Related Terms

wham-bam thank you ma'am

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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