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madam

[mad-uh m] /ˈmæd əm/
noun, plural mesdames
[mey-dam, -dahm] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm/ (Show IPA),
for 1; madams for 2, 3.
1.
(often initial capital letter) a polite term of address to a woman, originally used only to a woman of rank or authority:
Madam President; May I help you, madam?
2.
the woman in charge of a household:
Is the madam at home?
3.
the woman in charge of a house of prostitution.
Origin of madam
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English madame < Old French, orig. ma dame my lady; see dame
Can be confused
madam, madame.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for madams
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But there were other madams and Mademoiselles boarding that train.

    The Magic Curtain Roy J. Snell
  • What will be the price of the plaintiff's pleadings then, madams?

  • These "madams" of the valet were beginning to fret Sophy cruelly.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • He has his madams to play with, and to bring them back to happiness, and to those that love them.

    Dracula Bram Stoker
  • I returned to lay our first-fruits at madams feet, he explained, his darkly watchful eyes upon us both.

    By order of the company Mary Johnston
  • Under that genial breath the colour came slowly back to madams cheek and lip, and her heart beat more strongly.

    By order of the company Mary Johnston
  • "He is one of our national glories," madams de S— cried out, with sudden vehemence.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for madams

madam

/ˈmædəm/
noun (pl) madams, (for sense 1) mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm)
1.
a polite term of address for a woman, esp one considered to be of relatively high social status
2.
a woman who runs a brothel
3.
(Brit, informal) a precocious or pompous little girl
4.
(South African, informal) the madam, the lady of the house
Word Origin
C13: from Old French ma dame my lady
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 madams

madam

c.1300, from Old French ma dame, literally "my lady," from Latin mea domina (cf. madonna). Meaning "female owner or manager of a brothel" is first attested 1871.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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11
13
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