I was looking in the Merriam Webster dictionary for the word "Macushla" and I found this entry:

Definition of macushla Irish : DARLING —used usually as a noun of address

What does address mean in this context?

is this the correct definition for this particular example? address noun 6. the use of a name or title in speaking or writing to a person: forms of address.(source:thefreedictionary)

does this essentially mean that the word "address" means: an act of addressing someone or calling someone by one's name?(I was drawing on the definition of the verb address below when making this conclusion)

  1. To call (a person to whom one is speaking) by a particular name or term: Address the judge as "Your Honor."(source:thefreedictionary)
  • Your defintion is correct. Your paraphrase isn't quite right. But I'm having trouble thinking of any clearer way than "the use of a name or title in speaking or writing to a person"
    – James K
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 19:00
  • @MichaelHarvey - Please propose this as a proper Answer, rather than just a comment. Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 19:40
  • Also known as a Vocative, which is a case in some languages. Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 21:48

3 Answers 3


Yes, 'noun of address' refers to a name or title or term you use when you address ("call") in communicating (writing, speaking) to someone -- Mr. President, Professor, Your Holiness, Darling, Chief, etc.


The word address has several senses - both as noun and verb.

This one really relates to the verb sense - listed as number 3a. in the Oxford English Dictionary.

3a. transitive. To direct (spoken words) to (also unto). In quot. 1655 figurative.

An example it gives of its use is:

1952 T. Armstrong Adam Brunskill iv. 123 Richard Blenkiron, as master of ceremonies, addressed a few serious and extremely audible words to the central figure.

So the word macushla, though itself a noun, is a noun used to address in the way described.


You have understood correctly. When we speak to one or more people, and we identify them with words such as 'Sir', Captain', 'Dad', 'Darling', 'Folks', 'Kids', 'Ladies', etc (and, in Ireland, 'Macushla'), these words are nouns of address, sometimes called 'vocatives' or 'nominatives of address'.

Nouns or nominatives of address are the persons or things to which you are speaking. They are set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma or commas, may have modifiers, and are not related to the rest of the sentence grammatically. You can remove them and a complete sentence remains. They may be first, last or in the middle of the sentence.

Nouns of Address

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