The Meaning of Senorita: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of senorita? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the Spanish word senorita, including its definition, origin, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the Spanish word señorita mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, Collins Dictionary, and Dictionary, the term senorita (pronounced ˌsɛnjɔːˈriːtə) is a term that is used to address a young, unmarried Spanish woman. This is the equivalent of calling someone “miss” in English. This term is considered polite and is a nice way to address someone. This can be used alone, or it can be capitalized and abbreviated before the name of an unmarried woman. For example, someone could either be referred to as Miss Jane Doe or Senorita/Srta. Jane Doe. This term is the diminutive of señora, which is also a courtesy title or title of respect used to refer to a Spanish-speaking woman. Spanish speakers use the diminutive suffixes ito and ita to make words smaller or cuter. Therefore, la señorita is a smaller or younger form of the term senora. This Spanish term is used to refer to a young lady with respect.

 A senorita can also be used to describe a cigar-shaped wrasse known as Oxyjulis californica, which is olive brown and creamy white, and found off of the coast of California. 

How can the word señorita be used in a sentence?

The word señorita can be used in many different Spanish sentences to refer politely to a young woman. In this first scenario, Paula is out to dinner with her mother and father. 

Camarero: Espero que sus entrantes estén riquísimos. ¿Sabes qué te gustaría pedir para el plato principal? ¿Señor?

[Waiter: I hope your appetizers are delicious. Do you know what you would like to order for the main course? Sir?]

Papá de Paula: Tomaré el filete medio crudo, por favor.

[Paula’s Dad: I will take the steak medium rare, please. 

Camarero: Maravilloso. ¿Y usted, señora?

[Waiter: Wonderful. And you, madam?]

Mamá de Paula: Tomaré el filete de salmón, por favor.

[Paula’s Mom: I will have the salmon filet, please.]

Camarero: Genial. ¿Y para usted señorita?

[Waiter: Great. And for you, miss?]

Paula: Tendré el pollo asado, por favor.

[Paula: I will have the roast chicken, please.]

Camarero: Perfecto. Los tendré listos de inmediato.

[Waiter: Perfect. I will have those ready right away.]

Paula: ¡Gracias!

[Paula: Thank you!]

Here, Paula was referred to as señorita, while her mother was referred to as señora and her father señor. The waiter used these terms of respect that match up with Paula and her parents’ ages to refer to them. In this next example, Paula’s brother Ricardo is on the phone with a technician who is coming to his house to fix his internet.

Ricardo: Hola, estoy intentando contactar con el centro de servicio. Se suponía que alguien iba a estar en mi casa esta mañana para arreglar mi Internet y nunca apareció nadie.

[Ricardo: Hi, I am trying to contact the service center. Someone was supposed to be at my house this morning to fix my internet and no one ever showed up.]

Agente de servicio al cliente: Espere un momento, señorita. ¿Está tu madre o tu padre en casa?

[Customer Service Agent: Hold on one moment, miss. Is your mother or father home?]

Ricardo: No soy una “señorita”, soy un hombre adulto. Un señor. Soy un hombre de treinta años.

[Ricardo: I am not a “miss” I am a grown man. A mister. I am a thirty year old man. ]

Agente de servicio al cliente: Mis disculpas, señora. Lo llevaré a alguien que pueda ayudarlo de inmediato.

[Customer Service Agent: My apologies, ma’am. I will get you to someone who can help right away.]

Ricardo: ¡No señora! ¡Señor!

[Ricardo: Not ma’am! Mister!]

Here, Ricardo emphasizes to the customer service agent that he is a man and not a woman or a young girl, or senorita.

What is the etymology of the word señorita?

According to Etymonline, the word señorita has been used to refer to a young Spanish woman since the year 1823 in the English language. This is the diminutive form of the Spanish word señora, which has been used since the 1570s to refer respectfully to a woman. Señora comes from the Spanish señor, which is a polite term used to address a man. This comes from the Latin seniorem, which is the accusative form of the word senior, meaning older. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sen meaning old.

What are synonyms for the word señorita?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word señorita. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. It is useful to know synonyms for words in other languages, because if you are in a place where that is not the native language, people may be confused. Not everyone knows the meaning of the Spanish word señorite. It is also useful to know synonyms so you can avoid repeating yourself and to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word señorita is provided by Merriam-Webster Thesaurus

  • beauty
  • lassie
  • damsel
  • girl
  • gal
  • madame
  • lass
  • mademoiselle
  • doll
  • madam
  • babe
  • maid
  • senora (or señora)
  • miss
  • maiden
  • dame
  • female
  • skirt
  • gentlewoman
  • lady
  • belle
  • ingenue (or ingénue)
  • woman

Overall, the word señorita is a Spanish title and a form of address used to refer to a young woman. This is considered a very polite term, and is equivalent to the English term miss. People often use the Spanish señorita to refer to young, unmarried women.

Sources:

  1. https://www.etymonline.com/word/senorita
  2. https://www.etymonline.com/word/senora?ref=etymonline_crossreference
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/senor?ref=etymonline_crossreference
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/senorita
  5. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/senorita
  6. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/senorita