Is it acceptable to use the title "master" to a doctor that I've learnt from him?

He is a doctor that teach me and answer on my questions on-line, and I would like to tell him "thank you master" (because he is a specialist in his field that he teaches). Is that respectable as I want to respect him by it?

  • If someone has a title, it's often safe, easy, and perfectly polite to use that. "Professor", "Doctor", "Judge" (or, in the courtroom, "your honor"), "Teacher", "Nurse", Reverend, Father (for a Catholic priest), Rabbi, etc.
    – Andrew
    Oct 7, 2016 at 0:25
  • A problem you will have with "master" is that it has other connotations than just having mastery of something. Why not simply "teacher" or "sensai"?
    – Peter
    Oct 7, 2016 at 2:16
  • To American English speakers, it is absolutely not appropriate. "Master" sounds kind of weird and creepy outside of very specific contexts. It is what a slave calls their owner, or a sexual submissive calls their sexual dominant. That said, it's perfectly acceptable to call someone a master of their specific field, but not just "master" as a form of address.
    – stangdon
    Oct 7, 2016 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


It's not really standard in English to use terms of address like this. Really, outside of very specific situations (courtrooms, as an example), it's pretty rare to use a term of address and when we do, it's always related to their job. Examples include:

  • "your honor" for judges
  • "officer" for police
  • "professor" for professors
  • "captain" for ship captains and people of that rank in the military (all military members can be addressed by their rank)
  • "doctor" for doctors
  • "sir"/"ma'am" - often used by children when addressing adults or by adults to refer to anyone above them socially.

"Master", specifically, is problematic. You run into the issue of the slave/master connection which either hearkens back to the US Deep South's past... or the more modern usage within the dom/sub community. Neither of these inferences are something you want to risk.

If you want to thank someone on the web for something, there's really no need to add a term of address... if you absolutely need to, say "doctor", if that's what he is, or "sir" or "ma'am", if you know their gender for certain... but I (personally) find it annoying when people add terms of address on the web. We're in an informal world here... I often have people call me "sir" and it's a pet peeve... firstly because I'm female, so it's presumptuous to assume everyone on the internet is male and secondly... it's just not necessary and doesn't mean anything to me.


Master sounds archaic. You might use mentor.

"someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person"

The correct way to thank this person would be: "I would like to thank Dr. X, who has been my mentor for several years."

  • 2
    So you think that this user should say "Thank you, mentor"? How is that any more standard than "Thank you, master"?
    – Catija
    Oct 7, 2016 at 0:13


in BrE is used as a title in correspondence for young men, usually under the age of 13, the use is considered very traditional and by formal "public" (AmE "private") schools.

There is no formal title for having a Maters degree as there in with a PhD which is sometimes referred to as


however, in medical situations, often only MD's are referred to as "doctor" for obvious reasons.

For example, in a crowded theater if someone screams out "Is there a doctor in the house?" They usually don't want someone that studied 18th century Venetian paintings.

A possible contradiction of this is that surgeons in BrE are addressed as Mister.


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