If you’re looking for plural abbreviations for Mr., Mrs. and Ms., you’ll find this quick guide to using Messrs., Mmes and Mses. to be quite helpful. Find out what these lesser-known abbreviations mean and how to use them appropriately.
Messrs. is the formal plural abbreviation of the word mister. The singular abbreviation of mister is Mr. If you were to use the plural form of mister without abbreviating it, you would use the word misters.
The following sentences represent correct usages of the singular and plural forms of mister, expressed as words and as abbreviations.
- Mr. Smith has arrived. (singular abbreviation)
- Mister Smith has arrived. (singular word)
- Messrs. Smith, Berg and Neely have arrived. (plural abbreviation)
- Misters Smith, Berg and Neely have arrived. (plural word)
Take care to avoid common mistakes when attempting to use the plural form of Mr.
Do not use either of the following options:
- Mr.’s (possessive form indicating something that belongs to a Mr.)
- Mrs.(refers to a woman who is or has been married)
Mmes. is the correct plural form of Mrs. According to The New Republic (TNR), the evolution of this term is fairly complicated.
- The term Mrs. originated as a contraction of the word mistress, which was used to refer to all women, married or not, prior to the middle of the 18th century.
- After that, Mrs. came to be associated with married women, while the word miss was introduced for unmarried women.
- The word mistress is no longer used in this context, as it now used to refer to a woman who is having an affair with someone else’s husband.
- Instead, a married woman may be referred to as madame, while multiple married women are referred to as mesdames.
The following examples illustrate correct and appropriate uses of singular and plural options referring to married women. As the full words are very formal, though, they are rarely used.
- Mrs. Blacksher has arrived. (singular abbreviation)
- Madame Blacksher has arrived. (singular word)
- Mmes. Blacksher and Giddens have arrived. (plural abbreviation)
- Mesdames Blacksher and Giddens have arrived. (plural word)
Be careful to avoid making common errors when using the plural form of Mrs.
Examples of what to avoid include:
- Mrs.’ (possessive form of Mrs indicating something that belongs to a married woman)
- Mrss (not a word; does not have a meaning)
- Misses (refers to two unmarried women)
Mses. is the correct plural form of the word Miss and the plural abbreviation Ms. Miss refers to an unmarried woman. There is no abbreviation of Miss. Ms. can refer to any woman regardless of marital status. Like Mrs., Ms. originated as a contraction of mistress, though the term mistress is no longer used because it has taken on a new meaning with a negative connotation.
Singular (unmarried woman)
Singular (woman, married or not)
Plural (unmarried women)
Plural (woman, married or not)
The following examples represent correct uses of the singular and plural forms of Miss, Ms. and Mses.
- Miss Wilson will be attending the party. (singular word, unmarried woman)
- Ms. Wilson will be attending the party. (singular abbreviation; she may or may not be married)
- Misses Wilson and Jones will be attending the party. (plural; both are unmarried)
- Mses. Wilson and Jones will be attending the party. (plural; either or both may or may not be married)
There are a few common errors regarding the usage of Mses. and Ms. Mistakes to avoid include:
- Be careful to avoid spelling Ms. the way it sounds (miz) when spoken.
- Avoid making assumptions about the marital status of women referred to using Mses. or Ms.