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French honorifics are based on the wide use of Madame for women and Monsieur for men.


Usage of "Mademoiselle" varies based on regions and ideology. In Canada and Switzerland, public administrations have been banned from using this title for a long time. France has taken this step in 2012.[1] In Belgium, its use is not recommended, but not forbidden either.

In France, calling a young woman "Mademoiselle" is usually considered more polite, and calling a middle-aged woman "Mademoiselle" can be a way to tell her that she looks like she is in her twenties and may therefore be considered flattering. In Canada, on the other hand, this usage may be considered offensive.[citation needed]


Any other honorific is usually created by using "Monsieur" or "Madame" and then adding a title. For instance, "Monsieur le Président" or "Monsieur le Ministre".


Catholic clergy use several specific honorifics.

The clergy of other faiths use the honorifics Monsieur le … or Madame la …, such as Monsieur le rabbin or Monsieur l'imam.

Nobility and royalty

Kings of France used the honorific Sire, princes Monseigneur. Queens and princesses were plain Madame.

Nobles of the rank of duke used Monsieur le duc/Madame la duchesse, non-royal princes used Prince/Princesse (without the Monsieur/Madame), other noblemen plain Monsieur and Madame. Only servants ever addressed their employer as Monsieur le comte or Madame la baronne.

See also


  1. ^ Sayare, Scott (22 February 2012). "'Mademoiselle' Exits Official France". The New York Times.