ma'am

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

Definition of ma'am

: 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

Examples of ma'am in a Sentence

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

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.

See More

First Known Use of ma'am

1668, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About ma'am

Dictionary Entries Near ma'am

ma'abara

ma'am

ma'amselle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ma'am

Cite this Entry

“Ma'am.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ma%27am. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ma'am

ma'am

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ma'am

used to politely speak to a woman who you do not know
used to speak to the Queen or to a woman of high rank in the police or military

ma'am

noun
\ ˈmam How to pronounce ma'am (audio) \

Kids Definition of ma'am

: madam

More from Merriam-Webster on ma'am

Nglish: Translation of ma'am for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!