[mam, mahm; unstressed muh m]
- madam(def 1).
- (in Britain) a term used in addressing the queen or a royal princess.
Origin of ma'am
First recorded in 1660–70; by contraction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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