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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ma'am \Ma'am\, n. Madam; my lady; -- a colloquial contraction of madam often used in direct address, and sometimes as an appellation.

Syn: dame, madam, madame, lady, gentlewoman.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also maam, 1660s, colloquial shortening of madam (q.v.). At one time the ordinary respectful form of address to a married woman; later restricted to the queen and royal princesses or used by servants to their mistresses.


n. (non-gloss definition: A contracted form of) madam (qualifier: chiefly used as a form of address). vb. To address (someone) using "ma'am".


n. a woman of refinement; "a chauffeur opened the door of the limousine for the grand lady" [syn: dame, madam, lady, gentlewoman]

Usage examples of "ma'am".

I don' know dis 'legendary' stuff, ma'am, but der capitan, der Marines likes him lots 'n' dey spends der moneys here alvays when on liberty!

Mimbs and ma'am, when they'd been on a first-name basis for all the twenty-five years she'd been chairwoman of the House and Grounds Committee.

Well, ma'am, we're here just to see you make a safe transit, and chase any boneheaded civvie that doesn't listen to his Traffic Control updates out of your way.

Or was this just cops zeroing in on the facts, ma'am, as if she herself was the one who'd robbed her own apartment, burglarized it, whatever the hell.

Standen, receiving only a blank look in answer to theanguished glance of enquiry he cast at Miss Charing, saidpolitely: "Just so, ma'am!

You have so many noble admirers, ma'am, who pay you such assiduous court, that I could not suppose that a conciliating address would answer my purpose.

Large numbers of small boats landing, and several Tartessian ships have beached themselves and are disembarking troops over the side… troops and artillery, ma'am.

You see, ma'am, it is all hours and all weathers, and that does try a man's constitution.

Oh heckfire, ma'am, it was one'a them crop circle things, like on the cover'a that Led Zeppelin record.

Well, I found her 'round Bowdoin Square, but I reckon she'd been doin' the North End, only she couldn't catch on ter the lingo of the Dagos, so I don't think she give 'em the glad hand, ma'am.

Well, he was pretty worn out, Ma'am, and then we had to chase around assembling decent maps and some hard figures on what the NPA actually has on-planet.

But O ma'am, it wasn't her, it was the piller that she'd fixed like herself, with the coverlet pulled round it, like she'd pulled it round her own head and shoulders when she spoke last.

Against the house rules, mind -- you -- but -- it'll be a pleasure, ma'am.

Adak Rourke, immigrations officer, more or less, at your service, ma'am.

Decided to get my savings and gratuity out of the Pacific Bank and set up here, ma'am, once my in-laws sent word how well things were going in Irondale," he said.