Dame is the female equivalent of the honour of knighthood in the British honours system. (The word "damehood" is rarely used but is shown on the official British Monarchy website as being the correct term). It is the equivalent form of address to "Sir" for knights. A woman appointed to the grades of Dame Commander or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Order of St Michael and St George, Royal Victorian Order, or the Order of the British Empire becomes a Dame. Because there is no female equivalent to a Knight Bachelor, women are always appointed to an order of chivalry. Women who are appointed to the Order of the Garter or Order of the Thistle are not given the title of "Dame" but "Lady".
The youngest person to be appointed a dame was Ellen MacArthur, at the age of 28. The oldest was Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies when aged 100.
A number of high-profile figures, such as actress Vanessa Redgrave, have declined the honour; see a List of people who have declined a British honour.
Formerly, a knight's wife was given the title of "Dame" before her name, but this usage was replaced by "Lady" during the 17th century.
See also 
- ^ The London Gazette: no. 57557. p. 1713. 2005-02-11. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- ^  movies.yahoo.com Retrieved: 3-3-2013