Difference Wiki

Mrs. vs. Miss: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 27, 2023
"Mrs." is a title for a married woman, while "Miss" denotes an unmarried woman.

Key Differences

"Mrs." is a title of respect and courtesy used before the surname or full name of a married woman. Historically, its usage signified that a woman was taken in matrimony and was often combined with her husband's name. "Miss", on the other hand, is a title used to address or refer to an unmarried woman, typically signaling that she is younger or has not entered into marriage.
The choice between "Mrs." and "Miss" is a reflection of societal norms and personal preferences. Some women prefer to be addressed as "Mrs." after marriage as an acknowledgment of their marital status, whereas others might choose to retain their maiden name and title. "Miss" is commonly used for younger females, especially in formal situations such as school or official documents. It conveys a sense of youth or singleness.
Titles like "Mrs." and "Miss" play an essential role in social interactions, offering a hint about one's marital status or stage in life. While "Mrs." indicates a bond of marriage, "Miss" remains neutral, suggesting no such bond. This distinction becomes particularly evident in traditional invitations or formal events, where addressing someone correctly is of utmost importance.
However, as society evolves, the usage and implications of "Mrs." and "Miss" are also changing. A growing preference for gender-neutral and marital status-neutral titles like "Ms." has emerged. Still, both "Mrs." and "Miss" hold their places in formal and informal communication, serving as markers of tradition and respect.

Comparison Chart

Marital Status

Used for married women.
Used for unmarried women.

Age Implication

Often implies an older woman.
Often implies a younger woman.

Usage Context

Formal, wedding invites, official correspondence.
Schools, formal settings, young females.

Combined With

Husband's name or woman's maiden name.
Typically the woman's first name or last name.

Societal Implication

Signifies a marital bond.
Indicates singleness or youth.

Mrs. and Miss Definitions


A form of address for a woman who is married.
Mrs. Johnson is my neighbor.


A signifier of a woman's unmarried status.
Miss Monroe was known for her beauty and talent.


An honorific for a wedded woman, often combined with her spouse's name.
Mrs. Michael Douglas is an actress known by her maiden name, Catherine Zeta-Jones.


A title used before the surname or full name of an unmarried woman or girl.
Miss Watson is my English teacher.


A title used before a married woman's last name or full name.
Mrs. Smith will be joining us for dinner.


A form of address for a young or unmarried female.
I would like to introduce you to Miss Emily.


A courtesy title for a married female before her husband's surname.
I received a letter from Mrs. Davis.


A courtesy title for a single woman, regardless of age.
Miss Bennett is the principal of our school.


A signifier of marital status for females.
Mrs. Clark was my grade school teacher.


An honorific suggesting youth or singleness.
Miss Davis is my older sister, though she's unmarried.


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.


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.


Is "Miss" age-specific?

Traditionally, it's used for younger, unmarried women but can refer to any unmarried woman.

Is "Miss" used for married or unmarried women?

It's used for unmarried women.

Can a widow use "Mrs."?

Yes, a widow can still use "Mrs." with her deceased husband's name or her own.

Which title goes with the husband's name?

"Mrs." can be used with the husband's name.

What does "Mrs." stand for?

It's a title for a married woman.

Does "Miss" imply youth?

Often, but not strictly. It primarily indicates unmarried status.

Is "Miss" an outdated term?

While some view it as traditional, it's still widely used.

How do you address an envelope to an unmarried woman?

Use "Miss" followed by her name.

Is "Mrs." short for something?

It's an abbreviation of "mistress" but not commonly used in that context today.

How do you pronounce "Mrs."?

It's pronounced as "missiz."

When in doubt, should I use "Mrs." or "Miss"?

"Ms." is the safest option, but between the two, "Miss" is more neutral.

Does "Mrs." have roots in other languages?

It's unique to English, but similar titles exist in other languages.

When addressing a letter, should I always use "Mrs." for married women?

Not necessarily. It's best to ask or use "Ms." if unsure.

Can "Miss" be used for a divorced woman?

It can, but "Ms." might be more appropriate to avoid emphasizing marital status.

How do I address a married woman who kept her maiden name?

"Mrs." followed by her maiden name, or use "Ms." if preferred.

Is "Miss" a sign of respect?

Yes, especially in formal contexts.

Which title indicates marital status more clearly?

"Mrs." clearly indicates a married status.

When did "Mrs." come into common use?

Its use dates back to the 16th century in English.

Is "Miss" used internationally?

It's prevalent in English-speaking countries, with variations in others.

How is "Miss" different from "Ms."?

"Miss" denotes marital status, while "Ms." is neutral.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons