Definition of madam in US 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.’
    • ‘And how can I be of service to this fine young madam?’
    • ‘‘The cabins are small, madam,’ Edmund answered politely.’
    • ‘I am afraid, madam, that his grace will not be able to see you today.’
    • ‘After she was through, Vidal replied simply and tersely, ‘Are you running for office, madam?’’
    • ‘Perhaps it will ease Eleanor's leaving if I were to give this to you, madam.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I mean no offense, madam, but it is obvious from your speech patterns that you were not born in this country.’
    • ‘‘Is it time to prepare for supper, madam?’ the heavy Greek accent said, more a statement than a question.’
    • ‘As you can see madam, this is a very desirable terraced property close to all local amenities.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘He bowed deeply and said, ‘Please excuse my rudeness, madam.’’
    • ‘"As you please, madam, " said the man who had saved us.’
    • ‘‘Erm, I'm sorry, madam, but do you have a picture of what you want? ‘she asked tentatively.’’
    • ‘Thank you, sir, and thank you, madam, for your attendance.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘I must confess, madam, that I have never been too fond of the countryside.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Used 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. 1.2 Used 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 Secretary, I'll start with you.’
      • ‘Madam President, this is a question of logistics.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 A 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In addition to good managerial skills, a successful madam needed the cooperation of the police and other local authorities.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you like I could always send a note to Eileen, the madam of the brothel, getting her to collaborate my story.’
      • ‘A few years ago I became a madam, running a string of girls of my own.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then there are the traffickers in the destination countries - the madams of the brothels, and the middlemen involved in the provision of labour.’
      • ‘The 45-year-old mother of four is a millionaire entrepreneur who made her fortune as a brothel madam on the Kalgoorlie goldfields.’
      • ‘Her researches lead her to a Viennese brothel where the aged madam reveals the secret of the painting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here was 944 Twiggs Street, the former brothel where he lived with his Aunt Honey, the madam - now abandoned and bristling with weeds.’
      procurer, procuress
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French ma dame ‘my lady’.