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Miss vs. Mrs: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 16, 2023
Miss refers to a title for an unmarried woman; Mrs refers to a title for a married woman.

Key Differences

Miss is a title used before a woman's last name or full name to signify that she is unmarried. It is a formal and traditional way of addressing a woman, especially in formal correspondence, invitations, or when the marital status is unknown or irrelevant.
Mrs, pronounced "missus," is used before a woman's last name or full name, but it indicates that she is married. This title is often followed by her husband's last name, although in modern times, some women choose to retain their maiden names after marriage.
Both Miss and Mrs are titles of respect, but they convey different marital statuses. Miss is generally used for younger women or girls, while Mrs is used for women who are married and possibly older, although age is not a strict factor.
In professional settings, some women prefer to use Miss regardless of marital status to maintain privacy or to avoid assumptions about their personal lives. Alternatively, the title Mrs is traditionally embraced by women who want to publicly acknowledge their marital status.
In summary, while both Miss and Mrs are respectful titles for women, Miss denotes an unmarried status, and Mrs denotes a married status. The choice of title can reflect personal, cultural, or traditional preferences.

Comparison Chart

Marital Status





Younger women, girls, or unmarried women
Married women

Name Following

Maiden or last name
Husband’s last name or own maiden/last name

Professional Preference

Used by some to avoid marital assumptions
Used to indicate marital status

Miss and Mrs Definitions


A regret for the absence or loss of someone or something.
I really miss my family.


A title for a married woman.
Mrs. Johnson will host the event.


A title for an unmarried woman.
Miss Smith will be joining the meeting shortly.


A respectful address for an older woman.
Mrs. Green is the oldest resident in our community.


Used to express a failure to hit, catch, or reach something.
He swung the bat but it was a miss.


A title used in formal or official situations.
Please address the letter to Mrs. Perez.


To fail to attend or be present.
She will miss her flight if she doesn't hurry.


Reflects a woman’s marital status.
She became Mrs. Thompson after her wedding.


A term to address a young girl.
The little miss was playing in the park.


Used with a husband’s last name.
Mrs. Smith is the name she chose after marriage.


To fail to hit, reach, catch, or otherwise make contact with
He swung at and missed the ball. The winger missed the pass. The ball missed the basket.


Used as a courtesy title for a married, widowed, or divorced woman before her own surname or full name
Mrs. Doe.
Mrs. Jane Doe. See Usage Note at miss2.


Used as a courtesy title for a married or widowed woman before the surname or full name of her husband
Mrs. Doe.
Mrs. John Doe.


Used in informal titles for a married woman to indicate the epitomizing of an attribute or activity
Mrs. Wonderful.
Mrs. Organization.


A form of address for a married woman


What is the title Miss used for?

For addressing unmarried women or girls.

Must Mrs be followed by a husband's name?

Traditionally, yes, but some women use their maiden names.

Is Miss appropriate in professional settings?

Yes, but some women prefer Ms. for neutrality.

Is Miss considered old-fashioned?

In some contexts, yes.

What does Mrs indicate?

It indicates that a woman is married.

Can Miss be used for older women?

Yes, if they are unmarried.

Does Mrs. have alternative pronunciations?

No, it's commonly pronounced as "missus."

Can Mrs be used for a widow?

Yes, widows often retain the title Mrs.

Does Miss imply youth?

Often, but not exclusively.

Is Mrs used with a woman’s first name?

Traditionally no, but modern usage varies.

Do Miss and Mrs affect a woman’s identity?

They can, depending on cultural and personal views.

Are Miss and Mrs interchangeable?

No, they indicate different marital statuses.

Can a married woman use Miss?

It’s unconventional, but personal choice varies.

Is Miss falling out of usage?

Somewhat, with the rise of Ms. as a neutral option.

Is Miss only for young women?

Primarily, but it's also for any unmarried woman.

Does Miss have other meanings?

Yes, it can mean a failure to hit or a feeling of longing.

Can Mrs be used for same-sex couples?

Yes, depending on personal preference.

How do you address an envelope to a Mrs?

"Mrs. [Husband’s Last Name]" or "Mrs. [Her Last Name]"

Can Mrs be used for a divorced woman?

Yes, if she chooses to retain the title.

How do you address an envelope to a Miss?

"Miss [Last Name]"
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.

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