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WP:WINAD (including a usage guide) but no one really cares about that these days. - PhilipR 21:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rhyming / Removed the "ma'am, yes, ma'am" line[edit]

I wish whoever put in the proper pronunciation rhymes would cit their sources. When I met Queen Elizabeth I was instructed differently as to the pronunciation of "ma'am". 05:10, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree, I've never heard anyone refer to the Queen as ma'am and pronounced it like 'pam', always 'marm'. (Source: growing up in Britain!) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:34, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You met Queen Elizabeth I??! :P Firejuggler86 (talk) 08:16, 15 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find this intruiging: "Female judges of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales are titled Mrs. Justice rather than Madam Justice." Just out of curiosity, are thy referred to as 'Mrs.' as a courtesy title regardless of marital status? Quill 07:30, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yep. Anyway, "Miss Justice X" would sound a little odd. Proteus (Talk) 10:08, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Possibly the shortness of the word helps explain another, in a sense compensating, idiomatic but non-official practice in American English: emphatically saying Ma'am both in front and behind an obedient response in clear voice to the senior, especially during drill, e.g. 'Ma'am, yes, ma'am!'
This paragraph only makes sense if you're saying that the sentence is "compensating" "idiomatic" and "non-official". It is however, perfectly in line with proper military etiquette requiring subordinate individuals to address a superior beginning and ending each utterance with the the title of address for that person. Thus "Ma'am, yes, ma'am!" is entirely equivalent to "Sir, yes, sir" as "Ma'am" is the official title of address for a female officer, and "Sir" is the official title of address for a male officer (in the American Military).
The shortness also has nothing to do with this, as a trainee and subordinate is typically still expected to follow this formulaic address with longer titles of address, such as "First sergeant, yes, first sergeant!", "Sergeant major, yes, sergeant major!", "Drill sergeant, yes, drill sergeant!" (Drill Sergeants having a distinct title of address apart from their rank. It varies on the expectations if a drill sergeant is in fact a corporal, what his title of address would be, although it is typical to expect "Drill corporal, yes, drill corporal" to be the proper response.) --Puellanivis 19:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ma'am, not incorrect[edit]

I propose removal of the portion of the introduction which labels ma'am as an incorrect use of the word Madam. Titles such as these have changed throughout the years, and have been accepted. Although it may be incorrect to use ma'am in certain countries, in the United States it is not so necessarily. Nicholas SL Smith 06:16, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How can ma'am be incorrect? It is merely an abbreviation with the removed letter noted by the apostrophe. 21:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the removal by Nicholas SL Smith 22:14, 31 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just in terms of pronunciation, it is interesting that no American would never dream of pronouncing "ma'am" like "farm". Nor would they ever pronounce it like the (American) "mom". The phonetics implied in the pronunciation obviously have nothing to do with American speech, and perhaps the note should contain some indication as to what the assumptions are, or use IPA notation. AtomAnt (talk) 11:29, 21 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is what I came in here to say. How the heck is one supposed to rhyme "ma'am" and "farm"? I'm no poet, but wouldn't any word rhyming with "farm" require the 'AR' syllable? Is there some vernacular in which people pronounce "ma'am" as "marm"? (talk) 16:28, 20 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When I first read the line (and I'm not saying it's accurate WRT British police), I thought of the old term "school marm" for teacher and wondered if that is the same term. Any thoughts? (talk) 13:03, 22 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For heavens' sake, people! Ma'am is sometimes pronounced as "Marm" when the double A (a'a) is pronounced as a long vowel instead of a short vowel, i.e. "aah". This pronunciation is used exclusively when addressing British royalty and aristocracy, and is not used by Brits in everyday situations. (talk) 00:03, 27 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Perhaps I can add some clarity as an American living in the UK. When pronounced with a non-existant r, farm turns into faahm (the middle has an ah sound f-ah-m). If you look at it that way, the marm (pronounced maahm) can rhyme with farm. matt 09:36, 3 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I agree with the consenus above, I thought Ma'am (to refer to the Queen) would be closer to rhyming with "palm" than "pam". Although I accept that this might be because I don't speak proper like what Debrett's says I oughta. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:29, 29 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Enough already![edit]

This is about verifiable sources, not a discussion of everyone's misperceptions from watching Dr Who and Upstairs, Downstairs. As of April 2012 there is a reference in the article which states Her Majesty, Elizabeth R, is to be addressed as "ma'am" as it rhymes with PAM. The end! The other pronunciations may exist, usually in British period dramas, but it is a moot point until other references are found. (talk) 14:47, 8 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, this is how discussions work on the internet. Enough! I iz rite! Teh end! What kind of reference do you accept? Not even a professor of linguistic sciences or the Queen herself, I suppose.

But at the same person, one person's opinion on how they want to be addressed is not an authority of how everyone pronounces a word. This is an encyclopedia article on a word, not the Queen's Style Guide. I don't see how this is different to many other words that are pronounced differently depending on accents - all the pronunciations are "correct", and you just get different variations across the country. I'm sure the Queen prefers to say "Orften", but that doesn't make it the only accent in use. Mdwh (talk) 15:13, 15 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If every pronunciation is correct, we don't need the IPA phonetics. Just pronounce every word at your discretion, nothing in wrong.

Madam as honorific[edit]

Could anyone who knows more about this add a section about the use of "Madam" in Southeast Asian English, where it comes before the maiden name of a married woman? As in Mr Lee's wife being simultaneously Mrs Lee and Mdm Tan? This is ubiquitous in places such as Singapore and IMHO needs a section here. JREL (talk) 10:03, 23 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Had a hard time finding decent refs for this, but there's now a brief mention. Should probably also note that this is a little old-fashioned now and also used by many divorcees. Jpatokal (talk) 12:42, 21 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Long time later, I found a Malaysian reference which does specifically mention the practice and in particular how Madam is normally followed by the woman's own surname while Mrs may be followed by her husband's surname. (Well the source says her father's surname but I think it's well established that generally her father's surname remains her surname after marriage.) Unfortunately it doesn't mention, and I agree that the practice is rare now, at least for any women I'd say 50 years or younger (or maybe more?). In fact AFAIK it was already fairly rare about 20 years ago even though at the time, Ms hadn't really taken hold much at least in Malaysia AFAIK. Another thing not mentioned is that the if an abbreviate is used, it tends to be Mdm not Mme.

I also removed the example of Chiang Kai-shek into a separate line. It's not from Malaysia or Singapore and the usage there is different. Other than the abbreviate Mme, more significantly it's her husband's name. As said, in Malaysia and Singapore it's normally the opposite. Madam will generally be followed by her surname or sometimes her full name. Mrs may be followed by her husband's surname or (I think even rarer) sometimes her husband's full name. As she doesn't normally adopt her husband's surname as her name AFAIK it's not that common to call someone with her husband's surname followed by her name regardless of whether Mrs or Madam are used. (By comparison, you may say Mrs Margaret Thatcher since that's her name.)

Nil Einne (talk) 07:27, 19 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ma'am is common in the Southern US and Western Canada?[edit]

I'm from Western Canada and I wouldn't say it is common here in the same way it is in the US south. It is used - but predominantly in a customer service setting. It isn't, for example, how young children are taught to address female adults. It would never be used to refer to your own relatives. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 11 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't doubt it. I'm from the Midwest, it's common here too. I thought it was common everywhere in English-speaking North America to politely address strangers as ma'am and sir depending on their sex. Maybe the South uses it differently, but some clarification must be made here. By the way, how do English speakers outside North America address women whose names they don't know politely? (talk) 20:55, 24 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I live in the South (Dallas, TX) and Ma'am, Sir, and Miss, (sometimes Ms. for divorcees) are used quite often. Also, I don't get the sexism here. I'm a woman, and do not think Miss or Ma'am is sexist. It's used when speaking politely to someone else. I am almost thirty, and prefer being called Miss (I look pretty young), but am okay with Ma'am (unfortunately by this age I guess I am a Ma'am). It only got annoying sometimes when I was called Ma'am in my late teens or early-mid twenties by a a small number of people. I am actually offended by the fact that the article says the use of such terms is sexist. Where is a source to back that up? Was this written by an ultra-feminist? I am a feminist, but that is a ridiculous statement. It could be said, that some women find that offensive, specifically some feminists. Any thoughts on changing the wording? CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 02:15, 3 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How is the term ma'am racist?[edit]

How is the term ma'am racist? One reference from an obscure, insignificant Michigan liberal arts college. Hardly qualifies it as racist. In the modern south, black and white women are commonly addressed as ma'am out of courtesy, and as a sign of good manners. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I concur. Also, I mentioned under another section on here that I found it offensive the article claimed the use of the term, as well as the use of 'Miss' was sexist. There is no source to back this up. Maybe some feminists find it offensive, but I don't know anyone personally offended by the term. The wording makes it seems as if everyone finds the word sexist. I am a woman by the way. CreativeSoul7981 (talk) 02:17, 3 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All those parts about ma'am being racist and sexist deserve a big POV stamp on them, EU Parliament ruling or not. One of the links is about an old lady who says she hates being called ma'am but she tips the waitperson (!) 50% every time he calls her miss. This is not political correctness, let alone objective reality: this is just the whims of some women out there who don't know what to do with their time. Another source given is a stupid discussion on the forum of I suggest adding a remark about this racist-sexy thing being the agenda of feminists, hardline liberals, whoever, and is NOT, as the article tries to suggest, a popular belief. (Actually with the average people I think it's rather a laughingstock.) Zigomer trubahin (talk) 18:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much of what you say actually confirms what the article suggests, even if that usage is unsourced. Such generalizing and unfounded talk about liberals and "women who don't know what to do with their time" is fairly useless and borderline insulting. What should those feminists be doing with their time--crocheting? Drmies (talk) 20:15, 30 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To heck with it. I shouldn't find an entry for "madam" in Wikipedia, anyway. "Mayflower Madam", yes; word "madam", no. And with so much material unsourced and (as indicated by this talk page) controversial, I think this article should be deleted. NB: I actually tried editing first, but by the time I removed all the unverifiable material and opinions-stated-as-facts, there was nothing left! AnonTech (talk) 16:16, 29 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dear Zigomer whatever, not sure who you think you are, but you do not speak for all women either - there are some women that find being addressed in terms of their marital status sexist - and they are 100pct entitled to say so. P.S. I have one hell of a better career than you, so don't worry about what I do with my time.

French origin[edit]

I know this word is much used in English speaking countries, but I think there should be more emphasis on the original use in the French language, which is mentioned much less than the use in English. Also, the shordened form "Mme" is not mentioned except for the redirect on top of the page, while even English "Mrs" is mentioned although it doesn't really have much to do with the topic. I know that this is English language Wikipedia, but the knowledge described should be as language neutral as possible. --Arny (talk) 12:09, 1 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I disagree. While the English WP is not necessarily restricted to English usage, and actually should not be, this article is about the term which is used as an English honorific, not its etymology. A different article or section about its usage in other languages would be appropriate, but mashing up the two is not appropriate. The existence of the word "M-A-D-A-M" in more than one instance does not mean that the various usages need to be discussed simultaneously, even if they have a common origin. Further, WP is not a dictionary, so extensive discussion of the etymology is inappropriate and unncecessary. In fact, I am going to remove the Latin origin as it is beyond the scope of the encyclopedic article. (talk) 14:41, 8 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I think it is a little misleading to say it comes from the French and then to leave it at that.
Just like how "Sir", if one goes right back, comes from referring to an unrelated person as one's father as a sign of respect, this is also the origin of the word "Dame" (ma dame/my dame --> madame/madam), and while dam (feminine version of "sire") is no longer used to refer to a human mother, dam is still commonly used to refer to breeding bitches.
That being said, we would need to find official sources in order to add this to the article (the "Sir" article already has this). (talk) Amelia

Madam in AME[edit]

Should someone add that in most of the US/American English, Madam is NOT something you would want to call someone? A madam is one who runs a house of prostitution. I don't think any american woman would relish being called a madam in the US. Matt (talk) 09:37, 3 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please,Matt, why as a boy/man, are you talking on behalf of women??? There is no ambiguity... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:25, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not true; a madame is a woman that runs a brothel. "madame" as a form of address has no such meaning. it is often seen as very formal, however. in business correspondence its paired with "sir" ("dear sir or madame") and and when addressing high ranking officials by their title, as the female equivalent of "mister" ("Madame Speaker", "Madame Secretary" etc). Firejuggler86 (talk) 08:08, 15 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Third pronunciation[edit]

The Oxford dictionary's IPA guide has a third pronunciation, however the character used doesn't seem to be in the library for Template:IPAc-en. One might question how necessary it is to include it, however, going by Madam#Formal protocol, and checking the pronunciation guide in the same dictionary for jam, one finds that this third pronunciation is the one dictated by protocol for address to the Queen, at least according to the text in the article / cited source. Thus, having it not included seems like a large oversight. Dimitriye98 (talk) 12:48, 2 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]