One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A term of respectful or polite address used for a woman.‘excuse me, ma'am’
- ‘Should I bring out your evening dress, ma'am?’
- ‘‘I shall wish to question each of you separately, ma'am,’ he said, and I nodded.’
- ‘Why, yes, ma'am, I believe we were heading that way anyway.’
- ‘‘There's no secret, ma'am,’ Mr. Revere said, ‘we were speaking only of the famous beauty of Boston.’’
- ‘‘You may indeed, ma'am,’ Ben replied, ‘She is in excellent health, as are my Father and sister.’’
- ‘‘It's raining on the bench too, ma'am,’ he told her.’
- ‘‘I assure you, ma'am, I'm capable of doing most things you put before me,’ Enela explained confidently.’
- ‘‘I'm sorry, ma'am,’ Elizabeth instantly apologized, ‘I didn't mean to implore.’’
- ‘So, if I could put it this way, ma'am, it is not only the quantity of your reign we are celebrating today, it is the quality.’
- ‘Well, you see ma'am, we've got a few positive responses towards the notion that she may be hiding on your boat.’
- ‘The servants are talking, ma'am, and they're all saying that the murderer is on the loose.’
- ‘They would have been on time, ma'am, I swear, if it hadn't been for my carelessness.’
- ‘I have called the doctor, and he is speaking to Mr. Cartwright now, ma'am.’
- ‘And where were you before these events, ma'am?’
- ‘‘He's already gone to shore, ma'am,’ said Peter.’
- ‘Carmon Rosalind Maitfield at your service, ma'am.’
- ‘‘I'm sorry, ma'am,’ Jude apologized, putting his head down.’
- ‘It's in the ornamental frame on the mantelpiece in your own bedroom, ma'am.’
- ‘‘Why thank you, ma'am,’ Pic chimed as he acted like he was curtsying.’
- ‘‘Certainly, ma'am,’ said the royal doctor, bowing.’
- 1.1British A term of address for female royalty.
- 1.2British A term of address for a ranking female officer in the police or armed forces.
Mid 17th century: contraction of madam.
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