Difference Wiki

Mademoiselle vs. Madame: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 11, 2023
Mademoiselle refers to an unmarried woman, while Madame is used for a married woman or as a sign of respect for an adult woman.

Key Differences

Mademoiselle, from French, traditionally denotes an unmarried woman, akin to "Miss" in English. Madame, also French, corresponds to "Mrs.," used for married women or to convey respect irrespective of marital status.
In formal settings, mademoiselle addresses younger or unmarried women, while madame is reserved for older, married, or widowed women. However, this distinction is becoming less rigid over time.
Using mademoiselle can imply youth and singleness, whereas madame suggests maturity, marital status, or a more formal level of respect, reflecting societal attitudes towards women's roles.
Recent trends show a shift away from mademoiselle in professional and official contexts, favoring madame as a universal term to address adult women, reflecting evolving views on gender and equality.
In different French-speaking regions, the preference and connotations of mademoiselle and madame can vary, influenced by local customs and social norms.

Comparison Chart

Marital Implication

Typically signifies an unmarried woman.
Used for married women or as a general term of respect.

Age Connotation

Often implies a younger woman.
Suggests a mature or older woman.


Less formal, more casual.
More formal and respectful.

Usage Decline

Decreasing in formal usage.
Increasingly used universally.

Cultural Perception

Associated with youth and singleness.
Reflects maturity, marital status, or respect.

Mademoiselle and Madame Definitions


Unmarried Woman.
Mademoiselle Dupont is a talented pianist.


Title of Respect.
Madame Director, the meeting is ready.


Formal Address for a Woman.
Please call me Mademoiselle Smith.


Married Woman.
Madame Johnson will join us for dinner.


Title in French Culture.
Mademoiselle Leroux teaches French literature.


Formal Address for an Adult Woman.
The painting was created by Madame Renoir.


Young Lady.
The mademoiselle danced gracefully at the ball.


Sign of Maturity.
Madame Dupont has years of experience in her field.


Sign of Respect for a Young Woman.
Mademoiselle, your table is ready.


Universal Address in Modern Contexts.
Please address all correspondence to Madame Lee.


Used as a courtesy title before the surname or full name of a girl or an unmarried woman in a French-speaking area
Mademoiselle Turot.
Mademoiselle Isabelle Turot. See Usage Note at miss2.


Used as a courtesy title before the surname or full name of a woman, especially a married woman, in a French-speaking area
Madame Cartier.
Madame Jacqueline Cartier. See Usage Note at miss2.


Mademoiselle Used as a form of polite address for a girl or young woman in a French-speaking area.


Madame Used as a form of polite address for a woman in a French-speaking area.


Mademoisellepl. mademoiselles A French governess.


Alternative form of madam


Courtesy title for an unmarried woman in France or a French-speaking country.


My lady; - a French title formerly given to ladies of quality; now, in France, given to all married women.


A young woman or girl, especially one who is French or French-speaking.


Title used for a married Frenchwoman


A French title of courtesy given to a girl or an unmarried lady, equivalent to the English Miss.


A marine food fish (Sciæna chrysura), of the Southern United States; - called also yellowtail, and silver perch.


Small silvery drumfish often mistaken for white perch; found along coasts of United States from New York to Mexico


What is the primary difference between mademoiselle and madame?

Mademoiselle is used for unmarried women, while madame is for married women or as a universal sign of respect.

Does mademoiselle have an age implication?

Mademoiselle often implies a younger woman, though it's not a strict rule.

Is madame used differently in France compared to other French-speaking countries?

Yes, usage can vary slightly, reflecting local cultural nuances.

How has the use of mademoiselle evolved?

Its usage has decreased in formal and official contexts, with a shift towards using madame.

Is mademoiselle considered outdated?

In some contexts, especially formal and professional ones, mademoiselle is being phased out in favor of madame.

How does the use of madame convey respect?

Madame is a term of respect, acknowledging a woman's maturity or status.

In what context is madame preferred over mademoiselle?

Madame is preferred in formal, respectful situations and when addressing older or married women.

Are there regional differences in using these terms?

Yes, the usage can vary based on regional customs and social norms within French-speaking areas.

Can mademoiselle be used in professional settings?

Its use in professional settings is decreasing, with madame being preferred.

Can madame be used for unmarried women?

Yes, madame is increasingly used universally for adult women, irrespective of marital status.

Do French-speakers outside of France prefer mademoiselle or madame?

Preferences can vary, often influenced by local cultural norms.

Can using madame be seen as aging a woman?

While it can imply maturity, it's more about respect than age.

Can mademoiselle be seen as disrespectful?

In some settings, using mademoiselle can be viewed as patronizing or presumptive about marital status.

How do formal documents in France address women?

Formal documents are increasingly using madame to address all adult women.

Has there been a formal push to phase out mademoiselle?

Yes, there have been movements in France advocating for the exclusive use of madame in official contexts.

Is it common to see mademoiselle in everyday conversation in France?

Its use varies, with a trend towards less frequent use in everyday contexts.

Is it appropriate to use mademoiselle for all young women?

While traditionally used for young women, it's best to understand the personal and cultural preferences of the individual.

What is the social significance of using mademoiselle?

It can reflect societal views on age, marital status, and femininity.

What is the etiquette for addressing a woman whose marital status is unknown?

It's increasingly common and safe to use madame.

Is madame suitable for all adult women?

Yes, it's increasingly used as a universal term for adult women.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons