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[mad-uh m] /ˈmæd əm/

noun, plural mesdames
[mey-dam, -dahm] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm/ (Show IPA), for 1; madams for 2, 3.
(often initial capital letter) a polite term of address to a woman, originally used only to a woman of rank or authority:
Madam President; May I help you, madam?
the woman in charge of a household:
Is the madam at home?
the woman in charge of a house of prostitution.
noun (pl) madams, (for sense 1) mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm)
a polite term of address for a woman, esp one considered to be of relatively high social status
a woman who runs a brothel
(Brit, informal) a precocious or pompous little girl
(South African, informal) the madam, the lady of the house

c.1300, from Old French ma dame, literally “my lady,” from Latin mea domina (cf. madonna). Meaning “female owner or manager of a brothel” is first attested 1871.


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