What do the abbreviations "Ms." and "Mrs." stand for? and why do they have a capital letters?

I mean, we use to pronounce them totally different from what we write and see, and we add them a full stop, that's why it seems to be an abbreviation of some other words.

  • Mrs. was once an abbreviation for "Mistress," a title used for a married woman of relatively high social status. The title for an unmarried woman of the same social stratum was "Miss." As society became more democratic in its linguistic usages, the titles lost any sense of social status other than marital. In the late 20th century, a woman's marital status came to be deemed irrelevant in most public respects, and Ms. came in as a general substitute for Mrs. and Miss. I do not believe that Ms. is itself an abbreviation, at least not of any common word. It is punctuated like Mr. and Mrs. Nov 29, 2019 at 1:36
  • They have capital letters when used as a part of someone's name. In old-fashioned usage 'miss' as a form of address for a young woman not known to the speaker would not have been written with a capital. Nov 29, 2019 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


Originally, Mrs., pronounced "missus" was used for a married woman and Miss for an unmarried woman.

More recently, Ms., pronounced "miz" had been introduced to mean any woman, regardless of her marital status. Some women choose to go by this because they don't want to be defined by whether they're married.

Spelling them as an abbreviation with a full stop is the normal treatment if titles in English, see also Mr. for mister or Dr. for doctor.

  • Hello, it would be great if you included links to some authoritative sources to back up this information. That would help OP and others who would want to know more.
    – AIQ
    Nov 29, 2019 at 7:48

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