I just happened to see a newsprint of an ancestor’s obituary from about 100 years ago. She was “Mrs HerFirstName HisLastName”. Her two surviving daughters also used the same format, with “Mrs”, their personal name, their husband’s last name. This was rural Ohio, and even there the customs had already started changing, a long time ago.
Would that better be written “Missuz” or “Miss ehz”? That’s about how I pronounce it. “Mizzus” sounds like nothing I’ve every heard. Though that may be regional.
And yes, anyone who pronounces “Ms.” as “Miss” not “Mizz” deserves all the opprobrium he doubtless receives. It’s doubly wrong. And isn’t regional AFAIK / IME.
More like “mizz’z”. My mouth doesn’t move after the first syllable.
I’m going to try out the “mizz” for everyone. It might work out.
ETA: I don’t have a strong accent, to my knowledge.
IME its more common to pronounce Miss as Mizz - particularly in parts of the South, rather than Ms. as Miss. I grew up in Kentucky in the early 70s as Ms. was taking off, and had a hard time understanding the Ms./Miss difference because in that accent they sounded to me like homophones (but I also have a bad ear for subtle pronunciation differences)
Yes, sorry. I’ve heard Missus, and Missuz, and Mizzuz, and Mizz’z, but not Mizzus, I was writing sloppily.
There are large numbers of both married women and single women who prefer Ms. And no, you don’t pronounce Ms. as Miss. It’s more of a z sound than an S sound. If you’re pronouncing them the same way, then that’s a significant chunk of your problem.
The reason it makes sense to pronounce Ms. as “mizz” is so that people can tell it apart from Miss!
“Missus”, however you pronounce the middle of it, has an entire extra syllable.
Everybody’s got an accent. Many people don’t recognize their own, because they define it to themselves as “normal”. But it’s no more normal than any other accent, including the ones they define to themselves as “strong”; and it’s bound to sound like a strong accent to anyone who’s used to a significantly different one.
I was going to ask my we don’t just use “Mrs” for all adult women now (like how French uses Madame or German Frau), but started a thread in GQ.
I just had a thought as I was reading your excellent post. In today’s world there might actually be a situation where Mrs. Jane Doe is correct. I believe if I were very traditional and entering into a same sex marriage with Jane Doe, I could properly call myself Mrs. Jane Doe. And my new wife could properly call herself Mrs. Ann Hedonia.
It would be confusing af, but I believe it would be technically correct.
IIRC unlike in the UK in Spain spouses of nobility, regardless of sex, are styles by the corresponding masculine or feminine form of the title (ie the Duchess of Barcelona’s husband would be Duke of Barcelona just like how the Duke of Madrid’s wife is the Duchess of Madrid). There actually was a lesbian duchess a few years ago who married (on her deathbed?) and her wife automatically became the duchess(-consort) of wherever.
Mama Lobotomyboy63 used to do this for sort of official things. “Please excuse Preciousbaby Lobotomyboy63 for being absent from school on Thursday as he was ill. Signed, Mrs. Papa Lobotomyboy63.”
I assumed this was “official interface.” Otherwise, she was “Slip_of_a_girl Lobotomyboy63” to friends and others in the social circle.
Clarifying: for a school note, signing a report card, something quasi-official? “Mrs. John Doe.” On her paycheck, tax return, or to friends: “Jane Doe.” Mrs. Jane Doe? Never heard her use it.
Back in the day, that form may have signified that they’d earned their MrS degree. Also, in a time when people figured women didn’t know what they were doing, maybe it was “I have a husband you may have to deal with.”
To answer the OP’s question, my dad died in 2003; my mom died in 2017. For as long as she was lucid, she probably would have named herself as described above—yes, even long after Papa Lobotomyboy63 died. So the practice lasted at least that long.
When they started hating their husbands…
Gee, that seems to be setting the bar for husband-hatred awfully low. If a married woman prefers to continue using her own name that she’s used all her life, rather than using the same name as her husband with a slightly different honorific, that automatically brands her a “husband-hater”?
By that reasoning, there are also an awful lot of husbands who hate their wives, since AFAICT very few married men would be willing to go by the name “Mr. Jane Doe” instead of their own birth name “Mr. John Smith”.
I mean, I’m for people using whatever name and title they prefer that they’re legally entitled to, and I have no objection to a married woman’s choosing to use “Mrs. John Smith” as her form of address if that’s what she prefers. But that’s easier when other people aren’t poisoning the well by arbitrarily declaring that a married woman’s making a different choice means that she “hates her husband”.
I was just joking. I actually did know a guy that changed his last name to his then-wife’s last name. He told me it was because he didn’t like his last name and he didn’t really have a relationship with his father. He later got divorced and changed it back, later he remarried but this time his wife took his last name.
I have an unusual last name, my husband not so much. I kept mine. All my female cousins in Belgium kept theirs, but there that’s how it’s done.
Pretty much. Some women were protesting this in the 50s, but not getting very far with it. It got rolling in the Sixties as Feminism followed on Civil Rights Protests. Women chaffed at being called a name that wasn’t their own. By mid 70s, not only using their own name but using Ms., instead of Mrs. or Miss had picked up steam. I do remember laughing at my uncle who tried to refuse to use it as his company had notified everyone that it would be company policy.
Business correspondence is defaulting to “Dear John Smith” and “Dear Jane Smith,” to avoid the whole question of courtesy titles.
The problem is that there is also a trend to default to a single name field. There are good reasons to do this, the main one being that not all cultures use the given name+family name system, and even if they do, they might not do it in the same order.
However, I still want to stick to traditional alphabetization sorting, and a single name field doesn’t allow for that. I have suggested adopting a “name” field for the entire name, and an “alpha name” field to indicate which name should be the anchor for alphabetizing, but that hasn’t proven popular.
I have donated money to the ACLU on several occasions, and for years when they wrote me letters asking for more, they addressed them to “Dear Lastname”, no title. Eventually they switched to “Dear Friend.”
For my mother, here three separate names (Dr A Jones, Mrs J Smith, Alice) were a way of keeping her professional, social, and personal lives separate.
I know more than one person who use made up or adopted names for the same purpose, so the practice hasn’t stopped, it just become less standardized.
Sorry, didn’t see that you asked me a question (almost two months ago!). I was referring to a tech school, so high school and college age students. And all teachers go by their first names, with a very occasional Mr. or Ms… annnnd, that one guy in every department that introduces himself as Dr. Stickup Mybutt.
Our guy had a “Doctorate of Education (Classroom Practices)” from an online diploma shop, that’s well known for being “where teachers go to get a piece of paper so they can move up the pay scale at their school”. Which is fine, I have friends that did that.
But wouldn’t Dr. Mybutt realize he’d worked less hard than his colleagues who’d slaved away at a Bachelors or Masters in their field of expertise? I’ll tell you, he fooled exactly zero students (who have great BS detectors, and for whom respect has to be earned).
One of our goals is to have a relationship with the students and meet them on their level. Which I can’t do if I’m Mister Prentiss (pun on In Loco Parentis, clever, eh?). Any time a student asks “Professor?” I think “Crap, I’m not reaching this kid. I need to get to know them better.”
So, sorry for all this verbiage, but it’s a sore spot with me (and if I were calling my fellow teachers Mr. and Ms., I’d be keeping them at arm’s length, too.)
So far, aside from the awkwardness of using a new word, it is working out.