- a title used before the name or names of a married woman
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- /meɪˈdɑm, -ˈdæm/.USA pronunciation
- a title of respect used before the name of a married woman:Mrs. Jones.
- (used before an imagined name to express the opinion that the woman so named possesses a particular quality, characteristic, identity, etc.):Mrs. Punctuality is right on time, as usual.
(mā däm′, -dam′).USA pronunciation
- a title of respect prefixed to the name of a married woman:Mrs. Jones.
- a title prefixed to a mock surname that is used to represent possession of a particular attribute, identity, etc., esp. in an idealized or excessive way:Mrs. Punctuality.
- abbreviation of mistress
- See Ms.
- 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)USA pronunciation to
(mis′is)USA pronunciation or
(mis′iz).USA pronunciation 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)USA pronunciation and sometimes
(mis′is)USA pronunciation are the common forms in the North and North Midland, while in the South Midland and South, the prevalent types are
(miz′iz)USA pronunciation and
(miz),USA pronunciation the latter homophonous with the usual pronunciation of the abbreviation Ms.