Is it Rude to Call a Married Woman Ms?

Technically speaking, when a woman is married, she becomes a Mrs., not a miss, or Ms.. 

So, it is rude to call a married woman MS? Read on below and find out the truth of the matter!

Is it Rude to Call a Married Woman Ms?

It is indeed rude to call a married woman Ms. (short for miss). Women who are married become a missus the moment they are married, typically taking on the last name of the man. 

Further, mature (older) women should also never be called Ms. (even if she is unmarried), as miss is a term for young and unmarried women. 

Mrs. is a term of seniority, whether the woman is married or not. If she is your senior, she is a Mrs. to you, not a miss.

How Rude Is it?


On a scale of 1 to 10, calling a married woman Ms rates 9 on the rude meter. The main reason calling a married woman miss rather than missus doesn’t rate 10 out of 10 is that it may be done by accident. 

However, if you are observant, most married women wear an obvious wedding right on the left hand (right hand in some countries). 

Further, once you make the mistake of calling them to miss, they will correct you. If you call them Ms again, after being corrected, it is considered very rude indeed.

Why is it Rude?

It is rude to call a married woman miss because they are considered a missus once they are married. Calling them Ms is a slight to the state of holy matrimony they have entered into with their spouse. 

Other Options to Do Instead

If you aren’t sure whether a woman is a Mrs or a Ms, you should consider the following other options to do instead:

  • Call the woman by her name, rather than by miss or missus
  • Look for a wedding ring or other signs of her being married
  • Wait to hear how other people address the woman before greeting her
  • Make your greeting quick and jump right into conversation (skipping right over names)

Common Questions

What should a married woman be called?

Married women gain the automatic title of Mrs. Blank (whatever her legal last name is, typically the husband’s family name). Calling a married woman Ms on purpose is seen as rude, flirtatious, uncalled for, or some combination of the three.

Who is Ms appropriate for?

Ms is a term that is appropriate for young women who are unmarried. However, whether she is married or not, if a woman is older than you, the respectful way to address her is as Mrs. It is also important to note that these rules may vary from state to state and county to county, depending on the local culture.

What is the difference between Mrs and Ms?

The difference between Mrs and Ms is rather basic: Mrs, meaning missus, is a title for married women and older women in general. Ms, meaning miss, is a term that is reserved for young women, mainly young and unmarried women specifically.