When did married women stop being addressed as Mrs. Husband'sFirstName Husband'sLastName?

By the way, yes, if the only two versions you use in spoken language are “miss” and “missus”, then sure, call every woman “missus”. Way more people will be offended by “miss” than by “missus”. (And more will be offended by “missus” than by “mizz”.)

I can’t recall hearing any female over the age of 13 called “miss” since I was a child. It’s still used in writing, on formal invitations, sometimes. (Although mostly for children) But that title has pretty much disappeared since the advent of “Ms”, at least in my experience.

“Missus” is usually pronounced with something close to a ‘z’, so it doesn’t make much sense to use “mizz” for Ms. (unless you pronounce sharp ‘s’, which is about as uncommon as Ms. with a ‘z’). You wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart, especially if you don’t make the effort to really pronounce the last syllable.


Except of course, you can. Or at least I can and I bet most of your female clients can (sometimes, I can’t tell due to regional pronunciations the difference between Ms. and Miss). I know when I’m being called Mrs. and when I’m being called Ms. And I really do not like being treated like property.

Why are you concerned with not being able to tell Mrs. and Ms. apart when you are not concerned about pronouncing Ms. and Miss identically? ( BTW are you in a community where most people do not speak English as a first language? Because that’s the only way I can see that “Miss” and “Ms” would be indistinguishable.)

Perfect. So say “Mizz” for every woman, and the ones who prefer “Mizzus” will assume you just slurred the title, and the ones who prefer “Ms” will be comfortable.

Honestly, I really don’t believe there are any adult women who prefer to be called “miss” today.

(Like Dangerosa, I have never been confused as to whether someone said “Ms” or “Mrs”. Your regional accent may make it harder to distinguish. But if so, you have done no harm at all.)

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.