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-Lytton
She 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

Examples of ma'am in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Looking good, ma'am | Credit: ABC For the detailed lineup of all the Golden Bachelor contestants, check back at EW this Wednesday, Aug. 30. Kristen Baldwin,, 28 Aug. 2023 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 Josh Hedrick [in court]: Give us your name please, ma'am. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 30 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ma'am.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on ma'am

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