mad·​am | \ ˈma-dəm How to pronounce madam (audio) \
plural madams

Definition of madam

1a plural mesdames\ mā-​ˈdäm How to pronounce mesdames (audio) , -​ˈdam\ : lady used without a name as a form of respectful or polite address to a woman Right this way, madam.
b Madam used as a conventional form of address in the salutation of a letter
2 : mistress sense 1 used as a title formerly with the given name but now with the surname or especially with a designation of rank or office Madam ChairmanMadam President
3 : the female head of a house of prostitution
4 : the female head of a household : wife every once in a while the madam and I will order a book that we've read about— H. S. Truman

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Synonyms for madam


helpmate, helpmeet, lady, little woman, missus (or missis), Mrs., old lady, wife, wifey, woman [chiefly dialect]

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Examples of madam in a Sentence

the madam and I are planning to go out for a nice dinner on our anniversary

Recent Examples on the Web

In the aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide, the focus on Ghislaine Maxwell, a British heiress and Epstein’s alleged madam, has intensified. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "A New Female Fortune 500 CEO Meets the Glass Cliff: The Broadsheet," 13 Aug. 2019 Ghislaine Maxwell was, according to her accusers, Jeffrey Epstein's protector and procurer, his girlfriend and his madam. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Epstein’s death puts spotlight on girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell," 12 Aug. 2019 Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty: The sheriff and the brothel madam. J.d. Crowe |,, "Can John Merrill out-homophobe Roy Moore?," 18 July 2019 From portraying a kickass madam in Sin City to her turn as a superhero-healing nurse in Netflix's Marvel series, the Hollywood vet is no stranger to pulse-pounding roles. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "Rosario Dawson on Meditation, Skincare Secrets, and the Health Habit She Shares with Cory Booker," 7 June 2019 The first follows newlyweds expecting their first child, the second a brash older madam on a green bicycle. Sarah Neilson, The Seattle Times, "Ilya Kaminsky’s ‘Deaf Republic’ challenges and incites," 29 Mar. 2019 Davis spent four months in New York's Riker's Island prison for running a prostitution ring with 10,000 clients, which the former madam has claimed included the discgraced ex-Gov. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "'Manhattan Madam' Kristin Davis reveals what Mueller grand jury asked her in Russia probe," 20 Aug. 2018 In this April 27, 2018, photo, owner Dennis Hof, left, jokes with madam Sonja Bandolik at the Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nev., "Brothel bans weighed in Nevada as legal pimp runs for office," 11 June 2018 The play, about a 19th-century madam who ran a successful brothel in the area, had been researched and written by inmates at the Indiana Women's Prison. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "With Bryan Fonseca's new theater, the near west is growing into a major arts hub," 23 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of madam

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for madam

Middle English, from Anglo-French ma dame, literally, my lady

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Statistics for madam

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for madam

The first known use of madam was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of madam

formal used to politely speak to a woman who you do not know
used at the start of a formal letter to a woman whose name you do not know
used when you are speaking to a woman who has a high rank or position


mad·​am | \ ˈma-dəm How to pronounce madam (audio) \
plural mesdames\ mā-​ˈdäm , -​ˈdam \

Kids Definition of madam

used without a name as a form of polite address to a woman May I help you, madam?

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More from Merriam-Webster on madam

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with madam

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for madam

Spanish Central: Translation of madam

Nglish: Translation of madam for Spanish Speakers

Comments on madam

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of or relating to the heavens

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