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In the English language, an English honorific is a form of address indicating respect. These can be titles prefixing a person's name, e.g.: Miss, Ms, Mr, Sir, Mrs, Dr, Lady or Lord, or titles or positions that can appear as a form of address without the person's name, as in Mr President, General, Captain, Father, Doctor or Earl.
There are many forms of honorifics that are used when one addresses the members of the nobility, clergy, or royalty, mostly in countries that are monarchies. These include "Your Majesty", "Your Royal Highness" or simply "Your Highness", which are used to address certain members of royalty, or "My lord/lady" to address a peer other than a Duke, who is referred to as "Your Grace".
Some honorifics distinguish the sex of the person being referred to. Some titles of nobility and professional honorifics, such as the traditionally male-only Doctor or General, do not have gender-specific versions; women take the same form of the title as men.
- Master: (//) for boys or young men and as a title for the heir apparent of a Scottish baron or viscount. It may also be used as a professional title, e.g. for the master of a college or the master of a merchant ship.
- Mr: (// in the UK, // or /, / in the US) for men, regardless of marital status, who do not have another professional or academic title. The varient Mister, with the same pronunciation, is sometimes used to give jocular or offensive emphasis, or to address a man whose name is unknown.
- "Mr." is used with the name of some offices to address a man who is the office-holder, e.g "Mr. President"; "Mr. Speaker".
- Miss: (//) for girls, unmarried women and (in the UK) married women who continue to use their maiden name (although "Ms" is often preferred for the last two). In the UK, it is used in schools to address female teachers, regardless of marital status. It is also used, without a name, to address girls or young women and (in the UK) to address female shop assistants and wait staff.
- Mrs: (// in the UK, // or // in the US generally, or // or // in the southern US ) for married women who do not have another professional or academic title. The varient Missus (//) is used in the UK to address a woman whose name is unknown.
- Ms: (// or //) for women, regardless of marital status or when marital status is unknown.
- Mx: (// or //) a recent (1970s) innovation, used as a gender-neutral honorific or for those who do not identify as male or female.
- Sir: for men, formally if they have a British knighthood or if they are a baronet (used with first name or full name, never surname alone) or generally (used on its own) as a term of general respect or flattery, when it is equivalent in meaning to "Madam" for women (see below). Also used in secondary schools; most tend not to call male teachers "Mr ___", but rather "Sir".
- Gentleman: Originally a social rank, standing below an esquire and above a yeoman. The term can now refer to any man of good, courteous conduct. It is only generally used as an honorific form of address in the plural ("gentlemen" if referring to a group of men, or as part of "ladies and gentlemen" if referring to a mixed group), with "sir" (or "ladies and sir") being used for the singular.
- Sire: a term of address for a male monarch, previously could be used for a person in a position of authority in general or a lord.
- Mistress is an archaic form of address for a woman, equivalent to Mrs. Used on its own, it was used to address the female head of a household. The titles Mrs, Miss and Ms are abbreviations derived from Mistress.
- Madam or Ma'am (// in General American and either /ˈmam/, //, or // in Received Pronunciation.): for women, a term of general respect or flattery. Originally used only to a woman of rank or authority. May also refer to a female pimp. Equivalent to "Sir" (see above).
- All of "Sir", "Madam", and "Ma'am" are commonly used by workers performing a service for the beneficiary of the service, e.g. "May I take your coat, Ma'am?"
- "Madam" is used with the name of an office to address a woman who is the office-holder, e.g "Madam President".
- Dame: for women who have been honoured with a British knighthood in their own right. Women married to knighted individuals, but not knighted in their own right, are commonly referred to as "Lady".
- Lord: for male barons, viscounts, earls, and marquesses, as well as some of their children. In some countries judges, especially those of higher rank, are referred to as lords, ladies or lordship/ladyship. (Style: Lordship or My Lord).
- Lady: for female peers with the rank of baroness, viscountess, countess, and marchioness, or the wives of men who hold the equivalent titles. By courtesy the title is often also used for wives of Knights and Baronets. (Style: Your Ladyship or My Lady). As a plural, it may be used as an honorific for women generally ("ladies" if referring to a group of women, or as part of "ladies and gentlemen" if referring to a mixed group); "madam" (or "madam and gentlemen") is used in the singular.
- Esq: (//) (abbreviation of "esquire") in the UK used postnominally in written addresses for any adult male if no pre-nominal honorific (Mr, Dr, etc.) Is used. In the United States it is used in the same manner for attorneys (without distinction of gender) who have passed the bar exam and been admitted to practice. May be punctuated "esq" or "esq." following practice for other post-nominals.
- Excellency, also Excellence, a title of honor given to certain high officials, as governors, ambassadors, royalty, nobility, and Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops, (preceded by his, your, etc.).
- Her/His Honour: Used for judges, mayors and magistrates in some countries. (Style: Your Honour)
- The Honourable or The Honorable (abbreviated to The Hon., Hon. or formerly The Hon'ble, used for certain officials, members of congress, parliament, presidents, and judges (Style: My Lord/Lady or Your Lordship/Your Ladyship, Mr./Madam Ambassador, Your Honor)
- The Right Honourable (or The Right Honorable in American spelling, although the title is not used in the US): used in the UK (sometimes abbreviated Rt Hon) for members of the Privy Council (high government officials, senior judges, archbishops, etc.) and, formally, for peers below the rank of Marquess (normally abbreviated to simply "The").
- The Most Honourable: for marquesses and marchionesses (and, as a group the Most Honourable Order of the Bath and Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council).
Academic and professional titles
- Dr: (//) (abbreviation for Doctor) for the holder of a doctoral degree (e.g. PhD, or MD in many countries) and for medical practitioners, dentists and veterinary surgeons (including as a courtesy title in countries where these professionals do not normally hold doctoral degrees), although in some countries it is normal to address surgeons as "Mr", "Ms", etc. The informal abbreviation "doc" (//) is sometimes used. UK citizens who hold doctoral degrees or are registered medical practitioners may have the title "Doctor" recorded in their passports.
- Professor: (//) (informally abbreviated to "prof" (//)) for a person who holds the academic rank of professor in a university or other institution. In the UK this is a senior academic position and the title is always used in preference to "Dr", while in the US it refers to tenured or tenure-track academic staff and the title "Dr" is often preferred. Professors may have their title recorded in UK passports.
- QC: postnominally in written addresses for a judge or barrister who has been made a Queen's Counsel (King's Counsel (KC) during the reign of a king). QCs may have this title recorded in UK passports.
- Eur Ing: for engineers registered as European Engineers with the European Federation of National Engineering Associations. European engineers may have this title recorded in UK passports.
- Chancellor: for the chancellor of a university.
- Vice-Chancellor: for the vice-chancellor of a university.
- Principal, President, Master, Warden, Dean, Regent, Rector, Provost, Director, or Chief Executive: as appropriate for heads of colleges at the universities of Cambridge, Durham, London and Oxford, heads of the constituent universities of the National University of Ireland, and the head of Trinity College Dublin.
- Note titles sometimes double up, e.g "Vice-Chancellor and Warden" at Durham University or "Provost and President" at University College London
- His Holiness (abbreviation HH), oral address Your Holiness, or Holy Father – the Pope and the Pope Emeritus, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Patriarch of Peć and the Serbs, Catholicos of All Armenians, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Malankara Orthodox Catholicos and some other Christian Patriarchs.
- His All Holiness (abbreviation HAH), oral address Your All Holiness – the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
- His Beatitude or The Most Blessed, oral address Your Beatitude – Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic patriarchs, Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych.
- His Excellency (abbreviation HE), salutation Most Reverend Excellency or Your Excellency – Latin patriarchs and Papal nuncios.
- His Most Eminent Highness (abbreviation HMEH), oral address Your Most Eminent Highness – The Prince and Grand Master of Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
- His Eminence (abbreviation HE), oral address Your Eminence – Roman Catholic cardinals and Eastern Orthodox metropolitans and archbishops who are not the First Hierarch of an autocephalous church.
- Most Reverend Eminence – Roman Catholic cardinals (not used in English-speaking countries).
- The Most Reverend (abbreviation The Most Rev or The Most Revd) Eastern Orthodox metropolitans and archbishops who are not the First Hierarch of an autocephalous church, Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops in Ireland, and the US, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and Marthoma Metropolitans
- His Grace, oral address Your Grace – Roman Catholic archbishops in Commonwealth countries, and Marthoma Metropolitans
- His Grace or The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev or The Rt Revd), oral address Your Grace – Eastern Orthodox bishops.
- His Lordship or The Right Reverend (abbreviation The Rt Rev), oral address My Lord – Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Commonwealth countries.
- The Reverend: (abbreviation "The Rev" or "The Revd") used generally for members of the Christian clergy regardless of affiliation, but especially in Catholic and Protestant denominations. Unlike 'Father' (see below) may be applied to both priests and deacons.
- Except in the US, "The Reverend" is used either with first name and surname or with a second title and surname, e.g. "The Revd James Smith" or "The Revd Fr Smith", but not "The Revd Smith".
- Fr: (Father) for priests in Catholic and Eastern Christianity, as well as some Anglican or Episcopalian groups. Unlike 'Reverend' (outside of the US), may be used with either first name, surname or both.
- Pr: (Pastor) used generally for members of the Christian clergy regardless of affiliation, but especially in Protestant denominations. Equivalent to 'Reverend' (see above).
- Br: (Brother) for men generally in some religious organizations; in the Catholic Church and Eastern churches, for male members of religious orders or communities, who are not Priests.
- Sr: (Sister) Nun or other religious sister in the Catholic Church; for women generally in some religious organizations, such as the Mormons. Sometimes informally abbreviated as 'Sis'.
- Elder: Elder used generally for male missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and for members of the adult leadership known as the general authorities. Although most all male adults of the LDS church are Elders, the title is reserved for the prior mentioned groups. Elder is also used as a title for members of a ruling church body in a Presbyterian polity. They may be either appointed by a more powerful body like a session or elected by the congregation, but both are ordained for the purpose of governing a church.
- Rabbi: (Rabbi) In Judaism, a rabbi // is an ordained religious officiant or a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רַבִּי rabi [ˈʁäbi], meaning "My Master" (irregular plural רבנים rabanim [ʁäbäˈnim]), which is the way a student would address a master of Torah. The word "master" רב rav [ˈʁäv] literally means "great one".
- Imam: for Islamic clergymen, specially the ones who lead prayers and deliver sermons. Sometimes "sheikh" is also used to signify the leadership role of a clergyman in the community in addition to their religious ceremony tasks.
- Sayyid: males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, sons of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and his son-in-law Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib).:149
- Sharif: used for descendants of Hasan.
- Haji (or Hajji) (/ˈhadʒiː/): used by Muslims who have completed the hajj pilgrimage.
- Indian honorifics
- Canadian honorifics
- Courtesy titles in the United Kingdom
- French honorifics
- German honorifics
- Style (manner of address)
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- "ECCLESIASTICAL FORMS OF ADDRESS FOR CATHOLICS RECOGNIZED IN THE UNITED STATES". Retrieved 26 December 2016.
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