If ‘Mrs.’ stands for Missus, why the heck do we spell Mrs. with an ‘r’?

By on April 12, 2017

In the 18th century, a man was addressed as ‘master’ or Mr. and a woman of the household as ‘mistress’ or Mrs.

Cambridge University historian Dr. Amy Erickson suggests that the title “Mrs.” (pronounced ‘mistress’) used for many centuries referred only to all adult women in high society who are either single or married.

As the role of women in society evolved over the years, so too did the title.

So by the end of the 18th century, “Mr.” went from master to mister, and Mrs. from mistress to ‘missus’ regardless of one’s place in society.

By the 1900s, ‘Ms.’ came into the scene as a neutral alternative to “Miss” or “Mrs.” while ‘Mistress’ was given a new definition, the one we know today – a woman in an illicit romantic relationship with a married man.

In 2015,  ‘Mx’ (pronounced “mix” or “mux”) option was officially recognized for those who do not want to be identified by gender.

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