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Mr, Mrs, Miss & Ms Options
Tovarish
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:07:04 AM
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How do your countries use the above titles?

When I was a child you would daren't call a friend parents other than with these prefixes. Even to the extreme of calling close friends of our parents Uncle & Aunt.

One that upset me was receiving a letter addressed to me under my husbands initials. ie
Mrs A (my husbands initial) Surname.

I still don't like Ms it seems so neuter, but we are not really address with any prefix now, just Christian name & surname.
KhaleeqaIDRUS
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:28:37 AM
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In Malaysia, the titles are used to call people politely. As I know, Ms is used for young ladies who have not married yet. Mrs is used for married women. A title used to greet teachers, older women, etc. And Mr is generally used for men, who have not married and have already married. Commonly used in corporate world, high-standard communities, etc.
Tovarish
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:52:30 AM
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Thank you Khaleega, in Australia, a youth is referred to as Master, an adult male is Mr.
An un-married women is Miss, a married lady is Mrs.
Women who prefers not to say or are divorced say Ms.
It is becoming more common not to say anything.
EliBlu
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:58:04 AM
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Tovarish, can I ask you a question?
How do you pronounce "Ms" when referred to a lady, when you don't know if she's married or not? you read it as "miss"? or..?

Thank you in advance!!
Deni D
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:37:31 AM
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"Ms." is pronounced "Miz".

Incidentally, it's the title I prefer. I feel that if men aren't being addressed (or asked) their marital status, then neither should women; it's no one's business. "Mrs." I can't stand; the meaning is "Mr's" (belonging to the Mr.); they just got rid of the apostrophe. And don't get me started on calling women by BOTH the first and last names of the husband (e.g., "Mrs. John Smith")--ugh! Talk about losing your identity altogether!
nightshade
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:02:40 AM

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In general, there's also context. If I meet a very young woman (13-20), I call her "Miss", out of deference to her age, especially if she's accompanied by a parent. Any woman that seems older than that automatically gets "Ms.". However, a woman that's OBVIOUSLY older than I am gets "Ma'am" as a generic name replacement for responses or queries.

Issues of sex and manners are subject to variations due to circumstance.

Deni, not to be a prig, but women in North America should just do as their sisters do here in Spain and keep their last names intact. In fact, the level of maternal respect here is such that everyone is known by both last names, following this format: GivenName/Father's1stSurname/Mother's1stSurname So, to create a random case, Tomas Rodriguez Castro and Maria Fernandez Ortega stay that way when married. Their first son might be named Roberto Rodriguez Fernandez, using both his mother and father's surname. Traditionally the father's comes first, but this is changing.
MarySM
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 8:28:28 AM
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Welcome Deni D and I agree with your post entirely! Most business correspondence just drops the "title" altogether and uses the proper name because they always get it wrong anyway. Many first names are not gender specific so mail would come to Mr. Chris Smith when Chris Smith is actually female or vise versa.
KhaleeqaIDRUS
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:18:56 AM
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Somehow, I don't understand why some ladies get annoyed or mad when I call them "madame". How old a lady must be to be called "madame"?
Raparee
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 9:31:06 AM

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KhaleeqaIDRUS wrote:
Somehow, I don't understand why some ladies get annoyed or mad when I call them "madame". How old a lady must be to be called "madame"?

*snerk* A friend of mine called me while I was working a receptionist desk one day and since I was juggling multiple lines at the time, I called her "ma'am," which, considering the job, was common courtesy. She nearly took my head off. Whistle I think it is the implication that someone is old/older. It goes back to "respecting one's elders." She didn't want to be that "eld." Still, in a professional environment, it is still smart to use sir and ma'am or appropriate forms thereof.

That said, I do like the idea of keeping my own name upon marriage. I always hated the fact that it seemed that women lost their identity and using "Mrs. John Smith" is almost a total loss of identity. So if I get married, I will keep my name and my children can choose whichever name they like or keep their father's until they're old enough to decide.
KhaleeqaIDRUS
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:00:02 AM
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Yes, I think "madame" sounds too old. Haha. Wah, I couldn't believe that the real Englishes hate to use Mrs."Husband's name" because in Malaysia, we jocosely named ourselves as Mrs."Boyfriend's name". For example, my cousin named Dayah jocosely asked her friends to call her Mr. Hanif as if she and her boyfriend, Hanif are deeply in love. We thought that it would made a couple sounded and looked more sweet, lovely! Hehe.

What does 'snerk' mean, anyway? I've searched the meaning in TDF but it led me to Norsk Norwegian dictionary. According to the translation, it means 'skin'. I don't get it Think
Raparee
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:12:40 AM

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KhaleeqaIDRUS wrote:
Wah, I couldn't believe that the real Englishes hate to use Mrs."Husband's name" because in Malaysia, we jocosely named ourselves as Mrs."Boyfriend's name". For example, my cousin named Dayah jocosely asked her friends to call her Mr. Hanif as if she and her boyfriend, Hanif are deeply in love. We thought that it would made a couple sounded and looked more sweet, lovely! Hehe.

Oh, we do that here too, but I grew out of that in high school. *shudders* HS was not a fun time. It can be quite sweet (the Mrs. <husband name>, not HS), but my independent streak railed against the idea of losing my identity to ANYONE, especially in something that is supposed to be a merging of two people in one relationship...so why should the guy get the upperhand? Feh! Male-dominance traditions be hanged.

Quote:
What does 'snerk' mean, anyway? I've searched the meaning in TDF but it led me to Norsk Norwegian dictionary. According to the translation, it means 'skin'. I don't get it Think

*laughs* Umm...snerk? It's kind of like a snort-laugh with a sarcastic-humorous-amused bent? No idea where I picked it up. Sorry for the confusion. :)

Ooo! http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=snerk :D Except for the druggie definition, that pretty much covers all of it.
Cass
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:26:09 AM
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Dani D said:
"Ms." is pronounced "Miz".
Incidentally, it's the title I prefer. I feel that if men aren't being addressed (or asked) their marital status, then neither should women; it's no one's business. "Mrs." I can't stand; the meaning is "Mr's" (belonging to the Mr.); they just got rid of the apostrophe. And don't get me started on calling women by BOTH the first and last names of the husband (e.g., "Mrs. John Smith")--ugh! Talk about losing your identity altogether!

Actually, Mrs. is short for Mistress. In the old days married or elderly single woman were called "Mistress Jones". It was gradually written as "Mrs.". When I was in school and had to write "Mrs." on my papyrus I was taught to put a period at the end of it; same with "Mr."
KhaleeqaIDRUS
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:30:02 AM
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Hahaha! You know what, in Malaysia, most of the girls are well-minded, well-behaved and way more intelligent than boys. I wonder if one day a woman would lead my country. But perhaps, it couldn't possibly happen as Malaysia is an Islamic country Shame on you . Men are the leaders. That's why some men are just too egoistic and proud. (Are we already out of the topic? ><") Oh yes, thank you, I got the meaning finally! I've never heard the word before this. Sorry for sounding so illiterate d'oh!
Raparee
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 10:38:03 AM

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KhaleeqaIDRUS wrote:
Hahaha! You know what, in Malaysia, most of the girls are well-minded, well-behaved and way more intelligent than boys. I wonder if one day a woman would lead my country. But perhaps, it couldn't possibly happen as Malaysia is an Islamic country Shame on you . Men are the leaders. That's why some men are just too egoistic and proud. (Are we already out of the topic? ><")

Well, you know what they say: Behind every good man is a better woman. ;) If you want something badly enough, it can happen.

Quote:
Oh yes, thank you, I got the meaning finally! I've never heard the word before this. Sorry for sounding so illiterate d'oh!

You don't sound illiterate by any means. You just learned something new today, which makes it a good day. :D I learn lots of new things on this board, which is part of why I'm here and why you're here. The neat thing about urban dictionary is it will have some of the more esoteric and random idioms and colloquialisms.
KhaleeqaIDRUS
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:17:43 AM
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Raparee,

Ever since I started to visit TDF, my life has been better than ever. I learn new things each day especially new vocabularies. I've never missed the word of the day. I admit that I used to feel underestimated and down when it came to English because my English was terrible back then. Not to boast, but I think my English is getting better. Thanks to TDF, to you and those who have helped me a lot :)
Clement
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:49:12 AM
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In all business correspondence, the title Mrs. has lost its place with me. A woman/lady is addressed as Ms. no matter what the marital status is. I believe it is also commonly true.
kaleem
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:23:08 PM
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It varies from person to person, relationship to relationship, level of frankness with someone (if you are too frank with someone, you can start even from simple “Hi”), form of communication (official or casual). However, in legal matters, the situation is quite the opposite.

Tovarish
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:39:35 PM
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Good for you Khalee, keep posting.

the feminist comes out in me too , as I referred to above, with husbands initals or name whebnreferring to me.
In Australia we pronounce Ms as Mzzz.

Loved the papyrus joke Cass. I was first given a real slate when I started school.Truely.
nooblet
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:13:17 PM
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I'm not sure why people react to ma'am poorly. It's used in the military for women of all ages when they are of a higher rank than you, to my knowledge. If they get upset about it, chances are that they share more with the image they associate to ma'am (probably an ornery old woman) than they would care to admit, in my humble opinion.

Cass also beat me to the punch for what the origin to "Mrs." is. She is definitely correct that it is an abbreviation for Mistress. I am not really sure how its pronunciation got changed to "missus," but if you ever read any old literature, it is used interchangeably with Mistress.
The Saurus
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 7:21:20 PM
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Probably the same way "madame" seems to have become "ma'am."
nooblet
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 8:14:24 PM
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You mean contraction? I wonder what childbirth has to do with the shortening of these titles.
RuthP
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:23:28 PM

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I highly recommend Dictionary dot com: Mrs. for a discussion of the use of "Mrs." in the past (note that by the latter 17th century it pretty much meant you were married), and of the pronunciation confusion between "Mrs." and "Ms." particularly in the south. (U.S., that is)

"Ma'am" as used in the military, is the female version of the male "sir". It simply indicates the other is of higher rank. In civilian life that term as well as the full-length "Madam" carries a connotation of age. (One can always avoid it with "Yes'm" - pronounced "Yes-um" Whistle )

Back in the dark ages, when I was young, the proper address was "Mrs. Husband's Name." I remember my own mother pitching a fit about women signing checks as "Mrs. Husband's Name". There was no honorific for a woman's name on her own, possibly reflecting historically, a woman was a mistress of something only in her husband's name, not owning in her own right.
pjay
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 2:37:12 PM
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KhaleeqaIDRUS:

In addition to TFD Word of the Day, you might want to visit the Word A Day site, if you have not already discovered it:

http://wordsmith.org/awad/index.html

~ ~
Geeman
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:31:01 PM

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I feel for the ladies on this one. It seems like there are all kinds of implications and negative connotations to their titles. It's a pleasure to be simply "Mr." since I don't think I'd want to pick:

Mrs. meaning "married and therefore sexually spoken for or otherwise sublimated to a man."

Miss meaning "not married and therefore unfulfilled biologically."

Ms. meaning "I'm a slave post-feminist trends."

Lately, I've been seeing "Mz." more frequently. The neologism (neotitulation?) apparently came about because of the pronunciation of "Ms." and is supposed to be more neutral or something. I haven't quite figured out what it really means yet.

Personally, if I were a woman I'd not stop going to school until I could use "Dr." or "Prof." just to settle the issue....
nooblet
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:33:46 PM
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Why not just get a masters degree and declare that people must use the title "master" when addressing you?
sandraleesmith46
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010 1:00:39 AM
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nooblet wrote:
Why not just get a masters degree and declare that people must use the title "master" when addressing you?


Same reason "sir" didn't quite fit when I was on active duty; "master" as a title of address generally connotates a pre-adolescent boy, and I just can't pass that physical! However, I'm still not old enough for "Madam" with or without the -e on it! Check with me in about 30 years on that.
Geeman
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010 2:04:14 AM

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nooblet wrote:
Why not just get a masters degree and declare that people must use the title "master" when addressing you?

That would be a good reason to start carrying around my riding crop in public.
intelfam
Posted: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 5:34:26 AM
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Back to Tovarish comment about being addressed as "Mrs" and then her husband's initial. The convention in letters used to be that this is only done for the wife of the eldest son of a family. So my mother was written to as 'Mrs (initials of my father) Whatever'. When my mother died, this convention caused it to be that my oldest brother's wife was then addressed as "Mrs Clive Whatever" (although she had been Mrs Sandra Whatever for the preceeding 43 years of their marriage! I believe it is an aping of the convention that a Lady used the title of the Lord in the feudal days. I must add, that I have only seen this used, in the last 20 years, in letters from solicitors re business involving property inheritance!
Romany
Posted: Friday, March 5, 2010 10:38:41 AM
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Personally I feel that "Madam" is a title reserved for the keeper of a brothel, and "Ma'am" is the preserve of the Queen. I have managed to get through my life so far without the need, ever, to refer to anyone as Sir or Madam (and I Am a polite person. Promise). To me it sounds smarmy and I reckon I would choke on it!
sambakat
Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 8:21:03 PM
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I work in academia where almost all the women I know have PhD's. So I started referring to every woman I met as "Dr. So-and-so," on the assumption that she probably had a PhD, and I then started accidentally doing this in my non-academic life as well. Nobody ever minds the implication that they have so dazzled me with their brilliance that I mistook them for an Einstein, and by the time they stop laughing about it, we're on a first-name basis anyway and I have successfully evaded the entire Miss/Ms/Mrs problem. As for myself, students always start out calling me "Professor" but I always encourage them to use "Your Eminence" or alternatively "Your Most Radiant Highness" or "Shining Goddess of Science" instead, but for some reason, they often forget to do this and need constant reminding.
nooblet
Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 8:25:25 PM
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Odd, those are some of the first things that come to my mind when addressing women. The students must not have been taught proper professor-student etiquette. You should also inform them that it is mandatory for any attractive men to wash your car while half-naked every Saturday. Seriously, kids these days have no sense of respect.
RARA
Posted: Saturday, May 1, 2010 1:31:50 PM
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Geeman wrote:
I feel for the ladies on this one. It seems like there are all kinds of implications and negative connotations to their titles. It's a pleasure to be simply "Mr." since I don't think I'd want to pick:

Mrs. meaning "married and therefore sexually spoken for or otherwise sublimated to a man."

Miss meaning "not married and therefore unfulfilled biologically."

Ms. meaning "I'm a slave post-feminist trends."

Lately, I've been seeing "Mz." more frequently. The neologism (neotitulation?) apparently came about because of the pronunciation of "Ms." and is supposed to be more neutral or something. I haven't quite figured out what it really means yet.

Personally, if I were a woman I'd not stop going to school until I could use "Dr." or "Prof." just to settle the issue....


I have noticed on forms that Miss is disappearing altogether being left only with Mrs & Ms as options.

By Geeman's desciption of Miss, I am not married and therefore unfulilled biologically (What about unwed mothers? Anxious ) I prefer Miss, even at my vast age - I have ambitions of being a vaguely eccentric spinster!
Babezy
Posted: Saturday, May 1, 2010 10:39:22 PM
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I kept my maiden name and didn't add my husband's, so when people call me "Mrs." with my "birth" last name it sounds weird to me. I prefer "Ms." To me, "Miss" sounds silly for an adult over 21, though the eccentric spinsterhood is an appealing idea. As for calling me "ma'am," that's fine, though I can't use the term myself. My dad was VERY independent-minded and used to claim that "sir" and "ma'am" were terms imposed on our Irish ancestors by their evil English overlords (meaning the EEOs forced our IAs to use the terms). As kids we were strenuously discouraged from calling anyone "sir" or "ma'am."
RuthP
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 9:37:08 AM

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Babezy,

I must agree with your reasoning on "Ms." and "Mrs." I was in the same boat.

On re-reading all this, it occurred to me that some might not be aware that one of the motivators for a female honorific which did not denote marital status was discrimination in hiring. Such discrimination could also apply to men, but their address did not automatically label them one way or the other.


Today, about half the states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on marital status. (There is no federal law.)
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