[mam, mahm; unstressed muh m]


(in Britain) a term used in addressing the queen or a royal princess.

Origin of ma'am

First recorded in 1660–70; by contraction Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ma'ams

madame, dame, madonna, Frau, signora

British Dictionary definitions for ma'ams



short for madam


Ma'am is used as a title of respect, especially when addressing female royalty
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 ma'ams


also maam, 1660s, colloquial shortening of madam (q.v.). Formerly the ordinary respectful form of address to a married woman; later restricted to the queen and royal princesses or used by servants to their mistresses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper