[muh-dam, -dahm, ma-; mad-uh m; French ma-dam]

noun, plural mes·dames [mey-dam, -dahm; French mey-dam] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm; French meɪˈdam/. (often initial capital letter)

a French title of respect equivalent to “Mrs.”, used alone or prefixed to a woman's married name or title: Madame Curie.
(in English) a title of respect used in speaking to or of an older woman, especially one of distinction, who is not of American or British origin. Abbreviation: Mme.

Origin of madame

From French, dating back to 1590–1600; see origin at madam
Can be confusedmadam madame Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madame

Contemporary Examples of madame

Historical Examples of madame

  • Will madame be so good to enter our petit salon at the front, n'est-ce-pas?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Je suis tres honore—I am very honoured to welcome you, madame.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • How much better the diagnosis of Madame Dacier, who is quoted by Lessing!

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • An hour later, Hubert was walking round the house where Madame Sidonie lived.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • "Let me know the worst," Madame Permon said, with affected distress.

British Dictionary definitions for madame


noun plural mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm, French medam)

a married Frenchwoman: usually used as a title equivalent to Mrs, and sometimes extended to older unmarried women to show respect and to women of other nationalities

Word Origin for madame

C17: from French. 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

Word Origin and History for madame

1590s, see madam, which is an earlier borrowing of the same French phrase. Originally a title of respect for a woman of rank, now given to any married woman. OED recommends madam as an English title, madame in reference to foreign women.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper