Why is there an ‘R’ in Mrs.?

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Nowadays, you can barely go a day without having to fill out your personal details for one thing or another – and it gets pretty darn boring. Whether you’re signing up to yet another social media platform or whether you’re spending all of your hard-earned money online, we’re always asked to fill out our names and our addresses to ensure our 700th dress arrives at the right house. However, these forms are never simple. You have to fill out your address, your date of birth, your surname, and even your title. Luckily, there are loads of different titles we can choose from in today’s day and age. You might be a Mr., a Miss., a Doctor, or even an alien… or you might be a Mrs. But have you ever wondered why there is an ‘R’ in Mrs.?

Being r-less

We’ve heard of being harmless, but have you ever heard of being r-less? Well, Mrs. is a title that is r-less – and at first glance, we have no idea why. After all, Mrs. is an abbreviation for the word ‘missus’ which has no ‘r’ in it at all! Of course, we rarely use the word missus in real life as we’re so used to using the abbreviation – but the whole idea behind an abbreviation is that it’s a smaller version of the longer word. Yet, if the longer word doesn’t have an ‘r’ in it, why does the abbreviation have an ‘r’ in it? According to the history books, this extra ‘r’ came from another word we previously used for the woman in charge of the house.

The mistress has arrived

When the world started using abbreviations for titles, we used the title of ‘Mrs.’ to represent a mistress, but not the kind of mistress we all know about nowadays. Back in the day, a mistress was the name given to the female equivalent of a master. Basically, she was the woman in charge of the house – whether she was the governess of a house, or whether she was the wife of the master. During this time, there were also various different spellings for this woman of the house. She could have been the mistress, the maistresse, or even the maistre. What’s important to note here is that every single one of these names carried an ‘r’ within its letters – which is why it was abbreviated to the title, ‘Mrs.’

Another change

By the end of the 18th Century, the title for a mistress changed once more – and most people had ditched the idea of calling someone a ‘mistress’ and was using the simpler version of ‘missis.’ In fact, this was the time where the word ‘mistress’ began to take on a whole new meaning. This was one that actually had nothing to do with marriage because these women weren’t married in the first place, which was where all the problems came from. If you catch our drift. Because of this, married women were still using their new married name as ‘missus,’ but the idea behind the name had changed. Despite this, the abbreviation of ‘Mrs.’ still stuck. However, it wasn’t just ‘Mrs.’ that was going about change. During this time, ‘Mr.’ had also transitioned from the name of ‘master’ to ‘mister’ – which is how we know it today.

If you’re a Mrs. and always wondered why you were a ‘missus’ with an extra ‘r’ in your name, you’re in luck! It turns out society changed your name for you, so you weren’t associated with those interacting out of wedlock. That’s pretty darn nice of them.

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