It can occasionally be difficult to know the proper way to spell certain words, especially those used colloquially. Here we will take a brief look at the word “ma’am”, share a little history and explain “How to spell mam” correctly.

Etymology

Ma’am is a contraction of the word “madam”, which can be traced originally to the French word “madame” which literally translates to “my lady”.

It is more typically used in American English rather than in British English, where “madam” is more common and considered “more polite”. More specifically “ma’am” is more commonly found used in the southern US states.

Definition

Ma’am; noun
mam | mam
A term used without a name as a form of respectful or polite address to a woman.
Merriam-Webster

Synonyms

madam, madame, dame, madonna, Mrs, Frau, seƱora, marm

Uses in Context

“May I see your license and registration , ma’am?”

“Oh ma’am, are these keys yours?”

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, ma’am, but when we spoke on the telephone, I offered you the letters and the clothing.”