noun, plural mes·dames [mey-dam, –dahm; French mey-dam] /meɪˈdæm, -ˈdɑm; French meɪˈdam/. (often initial capital letter)
- a French title of respect equivalent to “Mrs.”, used alone or prefixed to a woman’s married name or title: Madame Curie.
- (in English) a title of respect used in speaking to or of an older woman, especially one of distinction, who is not of American or British origin. Abbreviation: Mme.
noun plural mesdames (ˈmeɪˌdæm, French medam)
- a married Frenchwoman: usually used as a title equivalent to Mrs, and sometimes extended to older unmarried women to show respect and to women of other nationalities
1590s, see madam, which is an earlier borrowing of the same French phrase. Originally a title of respect for a woman of rank, now given to any married woman. OED recommends madam as an English title, madame in reference to foreign women.