madam

[mad-uh m]
See more synonyms for madam on Thesaurus.com
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.

Origin of madam

1250–1300; Middle English madame < Old French, orig. ma dame my lady; see dame
Can be confusedmadam madame
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for madam

Contemporary Examples of madam

Historical Examples of madam

  • Well, I've got to take the madam and the young folks over to the Casino.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Indeed, Madam, you did me justice to say, I have no inclination to marry at all.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I would no more dishonour my family, Madam, than my brother would.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I beg your pardon, dear Madam, and your patience with me on such an occasion as this.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • You, Madam, shall see all the letters that have passed between us.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson


British Dictionary definitions for madam

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

Word Origin for madam

C13: from Old French ma dame my lady
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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper