EnglishShow more Special senses of general English.
1. [Influenced by Afrikaans dame a lady; ‘madam, ma’am’, the most courteous Afrikaans form of address to a woman.] Especially in the English of Afrikaans-speakers: ‘madam, ma’am’, a respectful mode of address to a woman.
Although intended respectfully, the word is sometimes misinterpreted as being impolite (cf. U.S. English ‘lady’).
1956N. Gordimer inBest of S. Afr. Short Stories (1991) 221‘My God,’ said Mrs Hansen, ‘My God. So she died, eh?’ ‘Yes, lady,’ he held out his hand for her ticket.
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