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Mrs.

[mis-iz, miz-iz]
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plural 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.
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Origin of Mrs.

abbreviation of mistress
Can be confusedMrs. Ms

Usage note

See Ms.

Pronunciation note

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

madamedamemadonnaFrausignoramissgentlemanladymanmisterwomanMr.Mrs.mam

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British Dictionary definitions for mrs

Mrs

noun plural Mrs or Mesdames
  1. a title used before the name or names of a married woman
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for mrs

Mrs.

1580s, abbreviation of mistress (q.v.), originally in all uses of that word. The plural Mmes. is an abbreviation of French mesdames, plural of madame, used in English to serve as the plural of Mrs., which is lacking. Pronunciation "missis" was considered vulgar at least into 18c. (cf missus). The Mrs. "one's wife" is from 1920.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper