monsieur

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See also: Monsieur

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

French monsieur

Noun[edit]

monsieur (plural monsieurs or messieurs)

  1. (dated) A man, especially a French gentleman.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      Pass round the decanters; glad to see ye; fill up, monsieurs!

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From mon (my) + sieur, from the oblique case of Old French sire (cf. also seignor), ultimately from Latin senior.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /mə.sjø/, (archaic, sometimes used jocularly) /mɔ.sjø/, (obsolete) /mɔ̃.sjø/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

monsieur m (plural messieurs)

  1. mister, sir (a title or form of address for a man, used with or without the name in direct or third-person address)
  2. gentleman
    Il y a un monsieur pour vous voir.
    There's a gentleman here to see you.

Usage notes[edit]

A custom held that it was impolite to use Monsieur with a family name (e.g. Monsieur Dupont) in direct address from a hierarchical inferior to a superior, unless it was needed to disambiguate. Instead, one should simply address the person as Monsieur. This custom may now be obsolete.

Unlike in English, Monsieur is frequently used without a name as a polite reference to a man in the third person, notably in official registers:

Monsieur s'est présenté à l'urgence à 18 h 12.
The/This gentleman/The patient attended the emergency room at 6:12 p.m.

Although un/le monsieur is used as a common noun to mean "a/the gentleman," using the word une/la madame to mean "a/the lady" is considered childish language. Instead, une/la dame is used.

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Descendants[edit]

  • Russian: месье́ (mesʹjé)

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