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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MISTRESS (adapted from O. Fr. maistresse, mod. maitresse, the feminine of maistre, maitre, master), a woman who has authority, particularly over a household. As a form of address or term of courtesy the word is used in the same sense as "madam." It was formerly used indifferently of married or unmarried women, but now, written in the abbreviated form "Mrs" (pronounced "missis"), it is practically confined to married women and prefixed to the surname; it is frequently retained, however, in the case of spinster cooks or housekeepers, as a title of dignity; as the female equivalent of "master" the word is used in other senses by analogy, e.g. of Rome as "the mistress of the world," Venice "the mistress of the Adriatic," &c. * From the common use of "master" as a teacher, "mistress" is similarly used. The old usage of the word for a ladylove or sweetheart has degenerated into that of paramour. "Miss" a shortened form of "mistress," is the term of address for a girl or unmarried woman; it is prefixed to the surname in the case of the eldest or only daughter of a family, and to the Christian names in the case of the younger daughters.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mistress

Contents

English

Noun

Mistress

  1. (archaic) Used as the title of a married woman before her name. Now used only in the abbreviated form Mrs.

Quotations

1855 – 1857: The sound of Mistress Affery cautiously chaining the door before she opened it, caused them both to look that way. — Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens, Book 2, Chapter 10

See also








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