ma'am

noun

ˈmam How to pronounce ma'am (audio)
 after "yes" often  əm
: madam
used without a name as a form of respectful or polite address to a woman
Thank you, ma'am."Yes, ma'am. Come in, ma'am. I'll tell Miss Lavendar you're here, ma'am. She's upstairs, ma'am." Lucy Maud Montgomery"My dear ma'am," said the parson, replying in preference to the lady … Edward Bulwer-LyttonShe looked down at him and said, "He most certainly is a large dog." "Yes ma'am," I told her. "He has a large heart, too." Kate DiCamillo

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps my overall disappointment stems from this pilot stiffness, but the more likely culprit is the standard brashness of American reality television, which is less cinema vérité and more wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Feb. 2020 No, ma'am — getting sick is definitely not worth skipping a short blow-dry sesh. Emilie Branch, Allure, 4 Oct. 2018 But like much of the South, please, thank you, sir, ma'am, and a good helping of eye contact are all the norm. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Feb. 2018 But there's something in my room that doesn't feel right ma'am. Country Living, 26 Oct. 2016 No, ma'am — getting sick is definitely not worth skipping a short blow-dry sesh. Emilie Branch, Allure, 4 Oct. 2018 But there's something in my room that doesn't feel right ma'am. Country Living, 26 Oct. 2016 But like much of the South, please, thank you, sir, ma'am, and a good helping of eye contact are all the norm. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Feb. 2018 Josh Hedrick [in court]: Give us your name please, ma'am. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 30 Sep. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ma'am.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1668, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ma'am was in 1668

Dictionary Entries Near ma'am

Cite this Entry

“Ma'am.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ma%27am. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

ma'am

noun

ˈmam How to pronounce ma'am (audio)
 after  ",
 yes  ",
 often  əm
: madam

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