Difference WikiEnglishWords

Difference Between Madam and Madame

Main Difference

The main difference between Madam and Madame is that the word Madam is a polite term for addressing women, whereas the word Madame is a title for a French-speaking married woman.

Madam vs. Madame

The word madam is a term to address women in a polite way. The word Madame is a title for a French-speaking married woman. The pronunciation of Madam is /ˈmadəm/. The pronunciation of madame /məˈdɑːm/. The word madam has five letters. The word Madame has six letters with additional letter ‘e’ in the end. The term madam is not specified for the marital status of the woman. It is irrespective of any such status. The term madame is associated with the marital status of women.

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Madam is having its derivation from the French ‘Madame.’ Madame is known to be the French word. Generally, Madam is not used with a name but used with a title; on the other hand, madame cannot be used before a title, but it can be used before a name. The word Madam can also refer to the mistress of a household; on the converse, the literal interpretation of the word Madame is “as my lady.” The term madam directs a woman who leads a brothel; on the other side, the term madame has no such association or usage. Madam is an English word, whereas Madame is a French word.

Comparison Chart

MadamMadame
A polite term of address for womenA title or form of address for a married French-speaking woman
Origin
From the French word “Madame.”A French word
Marital Status
Does not specifyIndicates the marital status of women
Before Names
Not generally used before a nameCan be used before a name
Before Titles
Can be used before a titleCannot be used before a title
Pronunciation
/ˈmadəm//məˈdɑːm/.
Letters
FiveSix
Refers To
A mistress of a householdThe literal interpretation is “as my lady.”
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What is Madam?

Madam is a polite term to address women respectfully. The contracted form of Madam is Ma’am, which is more common. The term madam is not specified with the marital status of a woman. Its typical use is associated with older women. However, the term madam is not used with a name or surname. It is used when the name of a lady is not known. It is the female counterpart of the male “Sir.” There is another significant meaning of this word, madam. It directs a woman who leads a brothel. In British English, the word madam is used for a talented and intelligent girl. It is not commonly used for a young woman without some exceptions.

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Madam word also has a formal use. It is widely used in a professional and official context. It is used at the beginning of a formal letter, e.g. (‘Dear Madam, …’) If someone is not sure about the gender of the recipient, he or she writes “Dear Sir/ Madam.” The pronunciation of Madam is /ˈmadəm/. The word ‘madam’ is also associated with a sense of authority or rank. It is used with a title referring to a female holder of that specific position. That is the reason that a woman with high rank or authority is addressed by using “madam.” The examples of it are Madam President, Madam justice, madam speaker, and the like. It is interesting to note that ‘madam’ is a very polite way of addressing any woman in general, for that matter.

Examples

  • Sorry, Madam, we are currently running out of the yellow collection of handbags.
  • “What would you prefer, madam?”
  • “How may I help you in this situation, madam?”

What is Madame?

‘Madame’ has a French origin. This term addresses the French married woman explicitly. Generally, the word madame is used for a French-speaking woman. Madame directs the marital status of a woman as it is used for married women. However, it can be used regardless of her marital status when talking about an old lady of French descent.

The term madame can be attached before the surname. The pronunciation of madame /məˈdɑːm/. It is the French equivalent of English ‘Mrs’ or ‘madam.’ Madame is equal to English ‘Mrs.’ and the French equivalent for the English ‘Miss’ is Mademoiselle. It is used in an official or formal situation. The plural form of Madame is ‘mesdames.’

Examples

  • It would be an immense pleasure to meet you, Madame LeBlanc
  • May I hold your coat, Madame,’ he said.
  • Would you like to have a cup of tea madame?

Key Differences

  1. The term madam is not specific for the marital status of the woman, whereas the term madame specifically refers to the marital status of the woman.
  2. The word madam is a polite term for addressing women; on the other hand, the word madame is a title for a French-speaking married woman.
  3. The pronunciation of Madam is /ˈmadəm/, on the contrary, the pronunciation of madame /məˈdɑːm/.
  4. The word Madam refers to a mistress of a household; on the other side, the literal interpretation of the word Madame is “as my lady.”
  5. Madam is an English word that is derived from the French word ‘madame’; on the flip side, madame is known to be the French word having French origin.
  6. The word madam has five letters; conversely, the word madame has six letters with additional letter ‘e’ in the end.
  7. Madam is not used in general with a name but used with a title; on the contrary, madame cannot be used before a title, but it can be used before a
  8. The term madam directs a woman who leads a brothel, while the term madame has no such association or usage.

Conclusion

Madam and Madame are the two titles that are given to women out of respect. Both the titles are similar with similar usage, but the difference lies in their origin, usage, spelling, pronunciation, and context.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson