If Mrs and Miss are generally used to distinguish the marital status of a female, is there or has there ever been a term with the same connotation as Miss for a male?

For instance in the following sentence what is the appropriate title you could use in the dotted space, Mr or just nothing perhaps, and why?

  • Miss Jane is 20 years old and her younger brother (...) John has just turned 18.

Note: I am nor referring to terms like bachelor, but just to titles like Mr or Miss.

  • 1
    Yes if her brother was 12, maybe you could get away with it if he was just turning 18, but there's a good chance it would sound downright condescending if he was just turning 24. Good outside reading.
    – J.R.
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:33
  • 2
    I certainly wouldn't use Ms. John – not unless it was Jane's younger sister.
    – J.R.
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:36
  • 1
    I don't believe there is an equivalent, and I think that may even be one of the reasons Ms. gained popularity in the 1970s.
    – J.R.
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:41
  • 1
    My choice would be to refer to Jane as "Jane," (not "Miss Jane"), so I wouldn't be vexed with this problem.
    – J.R.
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:51
  • 2
    Yes, just John. In AmE (AFAIK) "master" is totally obsolete; never used. The closest I can think of is "young man" as a form of verbal address (not a title, it is used instead of a name rather than prefixed); it is cute and amusing when addressing a 5-year-old, neutral when addressing a 12-year-old, condescending (though most apt) when addressing an 18- or 20-year-old. Often the connotation is of scolding or chastising. Nov 8, 2015 at 10:05

2 Answers 2


Master: A title of address placed before the first name or surname of a boy as opposed to miss.

UK: master is the honorific for boys under 18 years of age
US: addressed as master only until age 8, then is addressed only by his name with no title until he turns 18

Mister (Mr.) in this case, since John has already turned 18.

  • Plus it appears an informal, colloquial way to refer to a 'boy', rather then a more 'formal' way like Miss'.
    – user66974
    Nov 8, 2015 at 9:41
  • 1
    Master is simply not used in the US, to the point where some people might not even know what you mean. Nov 9, 2015 at 0:28
  • Titles in general are indeed hardly ever used except on forms you have to fill out. I never really noticed until I got my PhD. The only time people call me doctor is at hotels and on cruises. Regardless of my actual title, calling me "Mr. Matthew" can be nothing but humorous. Nov 9, 2015 at 0:40

"Miss Jane .... Master John." However, this is now old-fashioned so only appropriate if you are writing a period novel or something similar. The modern fashion is to say simply "Jane ... John."

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