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From mon (my) + sieur, from the oblique case of Old French sire (see also French sire), from Vulgar Latin *seior (lord, elder), from Latin senior (older, elder) (whence also seigneur, from the accusative form), from senex (old),from Proto-Indo-European *sénos (old).


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


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

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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