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mesdames

[mey-dahm, -dam; French mey-dam]
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noun
  1. a plural of madam.
  2. plural of madame.
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madam

[mad-uh m]
noun, plural mes·dames [mey-dam, -dahm] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm/ for 1; mad·ams 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.
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Origin of madam

1250–1300; Middle English madame < Old French, orig. ma dame my lady; see dame
Can be confusedmadam madame

madame

[muh-dam, -dahm, ma-; mad-uh m; French ma-dam]
noun, plural mes·dames [mey-dam, -dahm; French mey-dam] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm; French meɪˈdam/. (often initial capital letter)
  1. a French title of respect equivalent to “Mrs.”, used alone or prefixed to a woman's married name or title: Madame Curie.
  2. (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.
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Origin of madame

From French, dating back to 1590–1600; see origin at madam
Can be confusedmadam madame
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mesdames

Historical Examples

  • But tonight, mesdames, I know that the Republic is at fault.

    The Trampling of the Lilies

    Rafael Sabatini

  • True, all true, mesdames and messieurs—I have been your fellow-traveller myself.

    Arthur O'Leary

    Charles James Lever

  • Mesdames, so kind of you not to forget the most sincere of your servants.

  • I have known you only a short time, mesdames, but, thank heaven!

  • Let us go, mesdames, said Edouard, let us leave this house at once!


British Dictionary definitions for mesdames

mesdames

noun
  1. the plural of madame, madam (def. 1)
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madam

noun plural madams or 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. British informal a precocious or pompous little girl
  4. the madam Southern African informal the lady of the house
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French ma dame my lady

madame

noun plural mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm, French medam)
  1. 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
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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

Word Origin and History for mesdames

plural of French madame (see madam).

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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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper