[ mis-iz, miz-iz ]

abbreviationplural Mmes. [mey-dahm, -dam]. /meɪˈdɑm, -ˈdæm/.
  1. a title of respect prefixed to the surname or full name of a married woman: Mrs. Jones; Mrs. Susan Jones.

  2. a title prefixed to a mock surname that is used to represent possession of a particular attribute, identity, etc., especially in an idealized or excessive way: Mrs. Punctuality.

Origin of Mrs.

Abbreviation of mistress

usage note For Mrs.

See Ms.

pronunciation note For Mrs.

Mrs., first recorded in the early 17th century, was originally, like Miss, an abbreviation of mistress. Mrs. and mistress were at first used interchangeably in all contexts, but by the second half of that century, the written form of the abbreviation was largely confined to use as a title preceding a woman's surname. By the early 19th century, reduction of the medial consonant cluster had contracted the usual pronunciation of the title from [mis-tris] /ˈmɪs trɪs/ to [mis-is] /ˈmɪs ɪs/ or [mis-iz]. /ˈmɪs ɪz/. The contracted pronunciation used other than as a title was not considered standard, and today, locutions like Let me discuss it with the missis are perceived as old-fashioned. Currently, two main types of pronunciation for the abbreviation occur in the United States; [mis-iz] /ˈmɪs ɪz/ and sometimes [mis-is] /ˈmɪs ɪs/ are the common forms in the North and North Midland, while in the South Midland and South, the prevalent types are [miz-iz] /ˈmɪz ɪz/ and [miz], /mɪz/, the latter homophonous with the usual pronunciation of the abbreviation Ms.

Words that may be confused with Mrs.

Words Nearby Mrs. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Mrs. in a sentence

  • Mrs. Wurzel was quite right; they had been supplied, regardless of cost, from Messrs. Rochet and Stole's well-known establishment.

  • Bernard stood there face to face with Mrs. Vivian, whose eyes seemed to plead with him more than ever.

    Confidence | Henry James
  • But Mrs. Dodd, the present vicar's wife, retained the precious prerogative of choosing the book to be read at the monthly Dorcas.

  • Old Mrs. Wurzel and the buxom but not too well-favoured heiress of the house of Grains were at the head of the table.

  • He reached forward and took her hands, and if Mrs. Vivian had come in she would have seen him kneeling at her daughter's feet.

    Confidence | Henry James

British Dictionary definitions for Mrs


/ (ˈmɪsɪz) /

nounplural Mrs or Mesdames
  1. a title used before the name or names of a married woman

Origin of Mrs

C17: originally an abbreviation of mistress

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