What do Mr and Mrs stand for?

The reason behind that 'R' in your married name.

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Mr and Mrs. They’re titles you start using the minute you both say ‘I do’ and you are pronounced man and wife. You start ticking that exciting ‘Mrs’ box automatically. 


But have you ever stopped to think, why exactly, is it spelled ‘Mrs’? More specifically, what that ‘r’ is doing there? After all, we know it comes from the word ‘missus’ but that certainly doesn’t have an ‘r’ in it.

Lucky for us, facts site Mental Floss did a bit of digging and gave us a very important history and linguistics lesson.

Originally, ‘Mrs’ was an abbreviation for ‘mistress’, the female version of ‘master’. It denoted any woman in charge of something, be it children or a household. It now unfortunately has a less innocent meaning.


This turned into a less formal ‘missus’, used by servants and working class people in the 18th century who addressed their employers. It was mostly spoken.

But when it did come to being written down, it was decided that ‘missus’ looked too casual, so they decided to go for ‘Mrs’ instead.


Meanwhile, ‘master’ also started being pronounced as ‘mister’ as it was less formal. Unfortunately, there was already a written word ‘mister’ which meant a skill or trade, so it was written as ‘Mr’ to make it less awkward. So there you have it!