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[muh-dam, -dahm, ma-; mad-uh m; French ma-dam] /məˈdæm, -ˈdɑm, mæ-; ˈmæd əm; French maˈdam/
noun, plural mesdames
[mey-dam, -dahm; French mey-dam] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm; French meɪˈdam/ (Show IPA).
(often initial capital letter)
a French title of respect equivalent to “Mrs.”, used alone or prefixed to a woman's married name or title:
Madame Curie.
(in English) a title of respect used in speaking to or of an older woman, especially one of distinction, who is not of American or British origin.
Abbreviation: Mme.
Origin of madame
From French, dating back to 1590-1600; See origin at madam
Can be confused
madam, madame. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for madame
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Will madame be so good to enter our petit salon at the front, n'est-ce-pas?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Je suis tres honore—I am very honoured to welcome you, madame.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • How much better the diagnosis of madame Dacier, who is quoted by Lessing!

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus Wilton Wallace Blancke
  • An hour later, Hubert was walking round the house where madame Sidonie lived.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • With the same dejected air, Eliza answered as before, "No, madame."

British Dictionary definitions for madame


/ˈmædəm; French madam/
noun (pl) mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm; French) (medam)
a married Frenchwoman: usually used as a title equivalent to Mrs, and sometimes extended to older unmarried women to show respect and to women of other nationalities
Word Origin
C17: from French. See madam
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 madame

1590s, see madam, which is an earlier borrowing of the same French phrase. Originally a title of respect for a woman of rank, now given to any married woman. OED recommends madam as an English title, madame in reference to foreign women.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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