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Mrs.

[mis-iz, miz-iz] /ˈmɪs ɪz, ˈmɪz ɪz/
plural Mmes.
[mey-dahm, -dam] /meɪˈdɑm, -ˈdæm/ (Show IPA)
1.
a title of respect prefixed to the surname or full name of a married woman:
Mrs. Jones; Mrs. Susan Jones.
2.
a title prefixed to a mock surname that is used to represent possession of a particular attribute, identity, etc., especially in an idealized or excessive way:
Mrs. Punctuality.
Origin of Mrs.
abbreviation of mistress
Can be confused
Mrs, Ms.
Usage note
See Ms.
Pronunciation note
Mrs., first recorded in the early 17th century, was originally, like Miss, an abbreviation of mistress. Mrs. and mistress were at first used interchangeably in all contexts, but by the second half of that century, the written form of the abbreviation was largely confined to use as a title preceding a woman's surname. By the early 19th century, reduction of the medial consonant cluster had contracted the usual pronunciation of the title from
[mis-tris] /ˈmɪs trɪs/ (Show IPA)
to
[mis-is] /ˈmɪs ɪs/
or
[mis-iz] /ˈmɪs ɪz/ .
The contracted pronunciation used other than as a title was not considered standard, and today, locutions like Let me discuss it with the missis are perceived as old-fashioned. Currently, two main types of pronunciation for the abbreviation occur in the United States;
[mis-iz] /ˈmɪs ɪz/
and sometimes
[mis-is] /ˈmɪs ɪs/
are the common forms in the North and North Midland, while in the South Midland and South, the prevalent types are
[miz-iz] /ˈmɪz ɪz/
and
[miz] /mɪz/
the latter homophonous with the usual pronunciation of the abbreviation Ms.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Mrs.
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This trained neutrality of Mrs. Bines served her finely now.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Mrs. Bines, stooping, took the limp and wide-eyed Paul up in her arms.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • On a morning late in May Mrs. Bines and her daughter were at breakfast.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I heard about it from Mrs. Balldridge when we came here last fall.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Mrs. Drelmer glanced above to where some one seemed to be waiting for him.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
Word Origin and History for Mrs.

1580s, abbreviation of mistress (q.v.), originally in all uses of that word. The plural Mmes. is an abbreviation of French mesdames, plural of madame, used in English to serve as the plural of Mrs., which is lacking. Pronunciation "missis" was considered vulgar at least into 18c. (cf missus). The Mrs. "one's wife" is from 1920.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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