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English honorific

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Title: English honorific  
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Subject: Ms., Master (form of address), Salutation
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English honorific

In the English language an English honorific is a title prefixing a person's name, e.g.: Miss, Ms, Mr, Sir, Mrs, Dr, Lady or Lord. They are not necessarily titles or positions that can appear without the person's name, as in the President, the Earl.

There are many forms of honorifics that are used when addressing the members of the nobility, clergy, or royalty, mostly in countries that are monarchies. These include "Your Majesty" and "Your Highness", which are often used when speaking with royalty, or "My lord/lady" to address a peer other than a Duke, who is referred to as "Your Grace".

Some honorifics distinguish the sex of the person being referred to. Some titles of the nobility and of professional honorifics such as Doctor or General are not gender specific because they were traditionally male-only professions, and women have simply adopted the associated titles.

Common titles

  • Mr: (Mister) for men, regardless of marital status.
  • Master: for young men and boys, especially in the UK.
  • Ms: (/ˈmɪz/ or /mɨz/) for women, regardless of marital status.
  • Miss: usually for unmarried women, though also used by married female entertainers (e.g. actresses).
  • Mrs: (/ˈmɪsɨz/ or /ˈmɪsɨs/) for married women.
  • Mx: (/ˈmɪx/) In October 2011, the title of Mx was added as an option for people who do not identify themselves as either male or female and, therefore, feel a gender specific title such as Mr or Miss is inappropriate and unsuitable for them. It is becoming more widely accepted as a gender-neutral title. [1]

Formal titles

  • Sir: for men, formally if they have an English knighthood or if they are a Baronet, or generally as a term of general respect or flattery. Equivalent to "Madam" (see below).
  • Madam or Madame: for women, a term of general respect or flattery. Equivalent to "Sir" (see above).
    • Both "Sir" and "Madam" are commonly used by workers performing a service for the target of the service, e.g. "May I take your coat, Ma'am?"
  • Lord: for male viscounts, earls, and marquesses, as well as some of their children. (Style: Lordship or My Lord)
  • Lady: for female viscounts, earls, and marquesses. (Style: Your Ladyship or My Lady)

Academic titles

  • Dr: (Doctor) for a person who has obtained any doctoral-level academic degree, such as the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), but most often refers to a degree-holder in a medically related field, specifically a Physician or Surgeon (a.k.a. a medical 'doctor'). In the Commonwealth, holders of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS or MBChB) are entitled to call themselves 'Doctor', though fully qualified surgeons are more often styled 'Mr.' (or female equivalent or gender-neutral common title).
  • Prof: (Professor) used generally for people teaching at the college level. Persons holding doctorate degrees outside the medical field are more likely to be referred to as "Prof" over "Dr" to prevent confusion with the common meaning of "Doctor" (because teaching at the college level generally requires a doctoral-level academic degree).

Religious organizational titles

  • Br: (Brother) for men generally in some religious organizations; in the Catholic Church and Eastern churches, for male members of religious orders or communities, who are not Priests.
  • Sr: (Sister) Nun or other religious sister in the Catholic Church; for women generally in some religious organizations, such as the Mormons. Sometimes informally abbreviated as 'Sis'.
  • Fr: (Father) for priests in Catholic and Eastern Christianity, as well as some Anglican or Episcopalian groups; Generally equivalent to 'Reverend' (see below).
  • Rev: (Reverend) used generally for members of the Christian clergy regardless of affiliation, but especially in Catholic denominations. Equivalent to 'Father' (see above).
  • Pr: (Pastor) used generally for members of the Christian clergy regardless of affiliation, but especially in Protestant denominations. Equivalent to 'Reverend' (see above).

Uncommon and historical titles

  • Adv. or Counsellor: (Advocate) for Lawyers and Advocates in Scotland. In the United Kingdom, "Cllr." can be used for an elected local councillor, a political position.

See also


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