Definition of ma'am in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /mɑːm/


1A term of respectful or polite address used for:
Example sentences
  • He responded with a polite ‘Yes, ma'am,’ to a series of questions from the judge, posed to determine his knowledge of the charges against him.
  • Thereafter, if you do become drawn into a conversation, it is perfectly acceptable to address her as ma'am, Lord Crathorne says.
  • With all due respect, ma'am, it would be best for you to hire someone other than yourself to put Caci through some intense therapy.
1.1British Female royalty.
Example sentences
  • ‘There's no secret, ma'am,’ Mr. Revere said, ‘we were speaking only of the famous beauty of Boston.’
  • I have called the doctor, and he is speaking to Mr. Cartwright now, ma'am.
  • Should I bring out your evening dress, ma'am?
1.2British A female officer in the police or armed forces who is senior to the speaker.
Example sentences
  • Uh, ma'am, I know you're not exaggerating.
  • Only because, ma'am, he's a bigger person than I am and I'm sort of defenceless compared to him.
  • ‘Aye, ma'am,’ the officer of the deck said, and she gestured to the sensor station.
1.3North American or archaic A woman.
Example sentences
  • Wasn't the new kid supposed to be really shy, and call the teacher ma'am, and have all the girls pining over him?
  • Must get draughty in them big ole houses, ma'am.
  • If you please, sir and ma'am, take your quarrel outside, or let me go outside, I don't think I have your kind of energy.


Mid 17th century: contraction of madam.

Words that rhyme with ma'am

alarm, arm, Bairam, balm, barm, becalm, calm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ma'am

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.