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[skool-mahrm] /ˈskulˌmɑrm/
noun, Older Use.
a female schoolteacher, especially of the old-time country school type, popularly held to be strict and priggish.
Also, schoolma'am.
Origin of schoolmarm
1835-45, Americanism; variant of schoolma'am
Related forms
schoolmarmish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for schoolmarms
Historical Examples
  • Among these, New England “schoolmarms” and schoolmasters have played an active part, and several were from time to time arrested.

  • Still, if I were recruiting for schoolmarms, I should come here.

    Their Pilgrimage Charles Dudley Warner
  • schoolmarms and masters did not always teach for sweet charitys sake.

    Dixie After the War Myrta Lockett Avary
  • The family are all coming home, and the two Folger girls—the schoolmarms—will be here from Nantucket.

    True to His Home Hezekiah Butterworth
British Dictionary definitions for schoolmarms


noun (informal)
a woman schoolteacher, esp when considered to be prim, prudish, or old-fashioned
(Brit) any woman considered to be prim, prudish, or old-fashioned
Derived Forms
schoolmarmish, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from school1 + marm, variant of ma'am. 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 schoolmarms



also school-marm, "female school teacher," 1834, American English colloquial, in countrified humor writing of "Major Jack Downing" of Maine (Seba Smith); variant of school-ma'am (1828), American English, from school (n.1) + ma'am. See R. Used figuratively from 1887 in reference to patronizing and priggish instruction.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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