You may know the word Mrs. as the opposite of Mr., but do you know what this abbreviation actually stands for or where it derives from? Not to worry; The Word Counter is here to help.
In this post, we’re exploring the term Mrs. to uncover its definition, origin, proper usage, and more. So if you have ever been curious as to the origin behind this popular abbreviation — keep reading. Here’s our complete guide on the word Mrs ( /ˈmɪsɪz/ /ˈmɪs·ɪz, -ɪs/ /mɪz, mɪs/).
What Is the Definition of Mrs?
According to the Collins Dictionary of the English Language, the abbreviation Mrs. can be used as a noun in two ways:
- Used as a form of address or as a title of respect that is prefixed to a women’s surname or the full name of a married woman who additionally does not have a higher honorific or professional title — for example; Mrs. Doe
- A title that is prefixed to a mock surname that is used to represent possession of a particular trait, attribute, identity, or the like, most commonly in an excessive or idealized way — for example, Mrs. Punctuality or Mrs. Congeniality.
There are a few other commonly used titles that you may run into along the way as well:
- Miss — most commonly used to address an unmarried woman
- Ms. — a proper way to address any women; additionally, this abbreviation alleviates any of the guesswork to wondering if they are indeed married or not
- Mr. — used to address any male who has no other title.
- Mx. — this honorific is gender-neutral and used to identify genderqueer or nonbinary people.
What Is the Origin of the Word Mrs?
Our word of the day is a contraction that comes from Middle English maistresse, meaning a female teacher or governess.
Once a common title of courtesy, the word mistress fell into disuse around the 14th century. The pronunciation, however, remained intact, and by the early 15th century, mistress evolved into a derogatory word for “a kept woman of a married man.”
The abbreviation Mrs (as well as Ms. and Mr.) became part of the English vernacular by the early 17th century.
Note: In an effort to avoid the use of the word “mistress” (and its unfavorable connotations), a wide variety of phonetic substitutes have been utilized over the years — including missus, misses, or missis.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Mrs?
A great way to further your understanding of a new word is by learning synonyms and antonyms.
So, to help you get a better handle on the word Mrs., we went ahead and compiled a short list of synonyms and antonyms for you to review below.
- Young lady
- Member of the fair sex
- Member of the gentle sex
- Female of the species
- Female child
- Queen bee
- Adult female
- Young girl
- Old bag
How Can You Use Mrs. in a Sentence?
Now that you understand the meaning behind our word of the day, it’s time to practice using it in a sentence. Need some help? Check out these excellent sentences examples that we have listed for you below:
“Could you please tell Mrs. Johnson that I will be late for class?”
“After Miss Janie got married to Mr. Smith, her name changed to Mrs. Jainie Smith.”
“We are absolutely delighted to make your acquaintance, Mrs. Taylor!”
“If you have any issues at school, please ask your teacher, Mrs. O, for help.”
“I learned how to send an email in Mrs. Marble’s computer class today!”
“Jenny is babysitting for Mrs. and Mr. Johnson this Saturday, so she won’t be able to sleep over.”
“Mrs. Walter complained about her husband’s snoring so much that she started sleeping with ear plugs.”
“Mr. King’s behavior was horrendous last night, causing Mrs. King to apologize for her husband.”
“The priest announced Mr. Beck and Mrs. Beck husband and wife.”
“Mrs. Brown is hosting a baby shower for her daughter this weekend and is hoping we can make it.”
“Don’t forget to thank Mrs. Thompson for her hospitality.”
“In desperation, Mrs. White submitted to an operation on her left shoulder to relieve the pain.”
“Hi! I am looking for Mrs. Lee. Do you know where she might be?”
What Are Translations of Mrs.?
Our word of the day is used all around the globe, but it looks a little different. Here are some of the most common translations of Mrs:
- American English — Mrs.
- Arabic — الْسَّيِدَةُ
- Brazilian Portuguese — Sra.
- Chinese — 夫人
- Croatian — gospođa
- Czech — paní titul v oslovení
- Danish — fru
- Japanese — 既婚女性の名字の前に付ける敬称
- Korean — …여사
- Norwegian — fru
- Polish — Pani
- European Portuguese — Sra.
- Romanian — doamnă
- Russian — госпожа
- Spanish — Sra.
- Swedish — fru titel
- Thai — นาง
- Turkish — Bayan hanım
- Ukrainian — місіс
- Vietnamese — Bà
- Dutch — Mw
- British English — Mrs
- European Spanish — Sra.
- Finnish — rouva nimen edellä
- French — Mme
- German — Frau
- Greek — Κα
- Italian — signora
A Final Word
Mrs. is an abbreviation of the word mistress and is used as a common courtesy title for a married or widowed woman before her own surname or full name.
That said, you can’t just assume that someone using this title has a spouse or is widowed. Why? Because some women prefer being called “Mrs.” as opposed to “Miss” or “Ms.”
With this in mind, never assume someone’s marital status and always ask new friends what they’d like to be called — especially when you’re unsure.