Sunday, May 17, 2009

Question from Jacque - Addressing as Mister v. Master

When were men without titles addressed as 'Mister' as opposed to 'Master'? Was there any variation on the usage of Master/Mister between different social classes?


PhD Historian said...

The always-informative Oxford English Dictionary indicates that "Mister" was used initially as a title for craftsmen, tradesmen, and other skilled workers beginning as early at the 13th century. By the mid 16th century it was apparently being used interchangeably with "Master," though judging by the examples from the OED "Mister" was used mostly in relation to the working classes rather than the gentry or titled classes. By the mid-18th century, however, "Mister" had apparently replaced "Master" as the standard title for all men without title.

Tracey said...

The title "Mrs." Wasn't that given as a courtesy to any woman who had a trade? Or am I thinking of "Mistress", which didn't have anything to do with the bedroom.

"Master"...used by servants and apprentices to address their employer or teacher?