[ mad-uh m ]
/ ˈmæd əm /

noun, plural mes·dames [mey-dam, -dahm] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm/ for 1; mad·ams for 2, 3.

(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?
the woman in charge of a household: Is the madam at home?
the woman in charge of a house of prostitution.

Nearby words

  1. madagascar,
  2. madagascar aquamarine,
  3. madagascar jasmine,
  4. madagascar periwinkle,
  5. madalyn,
  6. madame,
  7. madame bovary,
  8. madame butterfly,
  9. madang,
  10. madariaga

Origin of madam

1250–1300; Middle English madame < Old French, orig. ma dame my lady; see dame

Can be confusedmadam madame Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madam

British Dictionary definitions for madam


/ (ˈmædəm) /

noun plural madams or for sense 1 mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm)

a polite term of address for a woman, esp one considered to be of relatively high social status
a woman who runs a brothel
British informal a precocious or pompous little girl
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