Definition of madam in English:



  • 1Used to address or refer to a woman in a polite or respectful way.

    ‘Can I help you, madam?’
    • ‘‘I'm sure that she appreciates your kindness, madam,’ Legacy said politely.’
    • ‘‘Breakfast is served, madam,’ he said, as Alora gazed at the large plate before her, accompanied by the tall glass of orange juice which Alora liked to drink each morning.’
    • ‘You're well informed, madam, I must say, for living in such a remote location as you do.’
    • ‘I summoned the English accent my mother used, and said softly, ‘I'm sorry, madam.’’
    • ‘Perhaps it will ease Eleanor's leaving if I were to give this to you, madam.’
    • ‘After she was through, Vidal replied simply and tersely, ‘Are you running for office, madam?’’
    • ‘Thank you, sir, and thank you, madam, for your attendance.’
    • ‘I mean no offense, madam, but it is obvious from your speech patterns that you were not born in this country.’
    • ‘I am afraid, madam, that his grace will not be able to see you today.’
    • ‘"As you please, madam, " said the man who had saved us.’
    • ‘I must confess, madam, that I have never been too fond of the countryside.’
    • ‘He bowed deeply and said, ‘Please excuse my rudeness, madam.’’
    • ‘As you can see madam, this is a very desirable terraced property close to all local amenities.’
    • ‘‘Erm, I'm sorry, madam, but do you have a picture of what you want? ‘she asked tentatively.’’
    • ‘And how can I be of service to this fine young madam?’
    • ‘‘Is it time to prepare for supper, madam?’ the heavy Greek accent said, more a statement than a question.’
    • ‘My request to you, madam, is for your office to empower more people like myself to assist the needy and to make resources available, and perhaps consider establishing a community-based centre that will assist our communities.’
    • ‘Tailored styles are already available in mainstream stores such as Marks & Spencer, Next and Debenhams, so it shouldn't be hard to find an outfit that suits you, madam.’
    • ‘Should we not be returning back to the manor by now, madam?’
    • ‘‘The cabins are small, madam,’ Edmund answered politely.’
    1. 1.1Used to address a woman at the start of a formal or business letter.
      ‘Dear Madam, …’
      • ‘If you are told to address her as ‘Dear Madam’ the ending must be ‘Yours faithfully’.’
      • ‘Dear Madam I have your note, but do not think I can undertake more than I originally promised, to give some informal talk about the value of the Greek Language & Literature, as objects of study, especially with reference to Mr. Evrett's absurd remark.’
    2. 1.2Used before a title to address or refer to a female holder of that position.
      ‘Madam President’
      • ‘Madam Speaker: Please allow the member to complete his answer in silence.’
      • ‘Madam President, this is a question of logistics.’
      • ‘Madam Secretary, I'll start with you.’
      • ‘Madam Speaker, we are a city that cares about its future.’
      • ‘Geena Davis, who plays President Allen on ‘Commander in Chief,’ says the country is ready for a Madam President.’
  • 2British informal A conceited or bossy girl or young woman.

    ‘she's a proper little madam’
    • ‘Now, young madam, let me wager a month's salary that you, like so many of our sisters these days, are the proud and confident wearer of the latest hipsters.’
    • ‘I tried to talk to my mother, she saw it only as my trying to move back to London to live with my grandparents and basically told me I was a snotty little madam.’
    • ‘As she becomes more emotionally involved the little madam becomes mercilessly manipulative and demanding.’
    • ‘A few well-garlanded madams of the society crowd passed by, gossiping, their rich black minks set for the chill in the Springtime air, their heels clopping gently on the sidewalk.’
    • ‘The little madams ' fancy then turned to donkey rides, which were quickly arranged.’
    • ‘‘I cannot possibly imagine myself wearing those,’ the proper madam muttered with utmost conviction.’
    • ‘Surprising, then, that Kelly claims she was a little madam as a child.’
  • 3A woman who runs a brothel.

    • ‘She was forced to work as a prostitute for one and a half years, and her madam demanded she hand over all her earnings.’
    • ‘The world's first publicly listed brothel was launched by former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss at the Melbourne Stock Exchange on Thursday with investors scrambling to buy shares.’
    • ‘Yet again, there is little evidence to support this claim and much to suggest that Mitchell actually based the character on a madam from her husband's hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.’
    • ‘Ignorant of the law, Mona, Stella, Adelaide, and countless other honorable young women feared prosecution for money owed and futilely sought to repay their madams through prostitution.’
    • ‘In addition to good managerial skills, a successful madam needed the cooperation of the police and other local authorities.’
    • ‘As prostitution frequently involves an economically exploitative relationship with a pimp or a madam, young girls are at even higher risk of abuse and exploitation than their older counterparts.’
    • ‘Then there are the traffickers in the destination countries - the madams of the brothels, and the middlemen involved in the provision of labour.’
    • ‘When I was a Hollywood madam, I had between 20 and 70 girls working for me and once made $97,000 in a single day on commissions.’
    • ‘We crept into an antechamber lined with red velvet and faced a woman who appeared the archetypical brothel madam.’
    • ‘As long as brothel madams and their prostitutes paid their monthly fines and sought to keep drunkenness, violence, theft and other disorderly behavior to a minimum, the police left them alone.’
    • ‘Some forms of disorder became more discreet, as law enforcers concentrated brothels in red-light districts and compelled madams to shield prostitution from public view.’
    • ‘Forget for a moment the season's immoral spending and hear the tale of the Edinburgh madam whose brothel was a thorn in the side of the residents of upmarket Stockbridge.’
    • ‘Here was 944 Twiggs Street, the former brothel where he lived with his Aunt Honey, the madam - now abandoned and bristling with weeds.’
    • ‘Her researches lead her to a Viennese brothel where the aged madam reveals the secret of the painting.’
    • ‘If you like I could always send a note to Eileen, the madam of the brothel, getting her to collaborate my story.’
    • ‘The 45-year-old mother of four is a millionaire entrepreneur who made her fortune as a brothel madam on the Kalgoorlie goldfields.’
    • ‘His tales of corrupt politicians, red-light madams and greedy businessmen may have offended civic leaders in 1951, but the book became an instant classic and is still in print today.’
    • ‘A few years ago I became a madam, running a string of girls of my own.’
    • ‘Her chance came in this 15 th-century tragicomedy by Fernando de Rojas about a madam at a brothel who agrees to help a nobleman seduce a young virgin.’
    • ‘Continuing to demand a percentage from madams within the new districts, grafting officials increased the protection fees for brothels operating outside of the district's limits.’
    procurer, procuress
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French ma dame my lady.