Found since the 1600s as an abbreviation of mistress (whence also Miss and Mrs), a title which initially did not indicate marital status. Suggestions that the term be revived began in 1901, and referenced the fact that dialects such as Southern US English already made no distinction between Miss and Mrs. in speech (/mɪz/). With the founding of Ms. magazine in 1971, the term quickly became widespread as an alternative to Miss and Mrs., which require knowing (and publicizing) the referent's marital status.
- (US) enPR: mĭz, IPA(key): /mɪz/
- (UK) enPR: mĭz, məz, IPA(key): /mɪz, məz/
- Title used before an adult woman's name or surname, especially when it is not desired or possible to indicate her marital status with Miss or Mrs.
- Ms Jane Doe, Ms. Roe
- Usually written as Ms. with a period in North America, and as Ms without one in the UK. See the notes in the Wikipedia article.
- (titles) (of a man): Mr (Mister, mister), Sir (sir); (of a woman): Ms (Miz, mizz), Mrs (Mistress, mistress), Miss (miss), Dame (dame), (of a non-binary person): Mx (Mixter); (see also): Dr (Doctor, doctor), Madam (madam, ma'am) (Category: en:Titles)
- plural of
- There is some difference of opinion regarding the use of apostrophes in the pluralization of references to letters as symbols. New Fowler's Modern English Usage, after noting that the usage has changed, states on page 602 that "after letters an apostrophe is obligatory." The 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style states in paragraph 7.16, "To avoid confusion, lowercase letters ... form the plural with an apostrophe and an s". The Oxford Style Manual on page 116 advocates the use of common sense.
From a shortening of its name.
- (chemistry) Abbreviation of .
- ^ The Grammarphobia Blog: in "a 1698 tax list from Shrewsbury, England, [...] the title 'Ms' precedes the names of two others, one unmarried and one whose marital status could not be determined"
- ^ The earliest known proposal is from The Republican of Springfield, Massachusetts, on November 10, 1901: "There is a void in the English language which, with some diffidence, we undertake to fill. Every one has been put in an embarrassing position by ignorance of the status of some woman. To call a maiden Mrs is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss. Yet it is not always easy to know the facts... Now, clearly, what is needed is a more comprehensive term which does homage to the sex without expressing any views as to their domestic situation, and what could be simpler or more logical than the retention of what the two doubtful terms have in common. The abbreviation "Ms" is simple, it is easy to write, and the person concerned can translate it properly according to circumstances. For oral use it might be rendered as "Mizz," which would be a close parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions, where a slurred Mis' does duty for Miss and Mrs alike."