‘Esq’ or ‘Esquire’ is used as an honorific before (or after) the name of a male individual.

Link: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/esquire

Is there any female equivalent to ‘Esq’ or ‘Esquire’?

  • 4
    In he US, I believe "Esq." is used after the name of a lawyer. Male or female.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 13, 2016 at 13:03

2 Answers 2


The short answer is no.

The long answer:

First, from Wikipedia, Esquire

British men invited to Buckingham Palace receive their invitations in an envelope with the suffix Esq. after their names, while men of foreign nationalities instead have the prefix Mr (women are addressed as Miss, Ms, or Mrs).[21]............

....In the U.S., the title Esquire is commonly encountered among members of the legal profession.[7] The term is used for both male and female lawyers.[39].........

....In the United Kingdom, Esquire historically was a title of respect accorded to men of higher social rank, above the rank of gentleman and below the rank of knight.

(These quotes are not in the same order as they appear in Wikipedia. Although it is not clear from the first quote, "men" refers to untitled men.)

Dame is the female equivalent of knight, Debretts, Dame: Dame Judi Dench; Sir Laurence Olivier.

To back up Wikipedia for the UK, I looked at Debretts. From Debretts, the section Forms of Address, Untitled Men:


It is for the writer to decide whether to use one of the following three styles: John Brown, Esq, Mr John Brown, or simply John Brown.

Debretts has a section on Forms of Address, Untitled Women, which is too long to quote. They discuss only Miss, Mrs and Ms.

To back up Wikipedia on the US, see FindLaw, a short article on the difference between JD and Esq:

However, when choosing a lawyer, don't just rely on the "Esq." or the word "Attorney" after her name and assume she is licensed to practice.

Despite the perhaps PC way of indicating that Esq applies to female lawyers, I think it is beyond dispute that this is so, in the U.S., at least.

  • I had thought you could call any distinguished woman a Dame, but it appears that usage is considered archaic.
    – jxh
    Jul 13, 2016 at 19:34
  • @jxh You may be right, for the period 1600s to 1917. "Formerly, a knight's wife was given the title of "Dame" before her name, but this usage was replaced by "Lady" during the 17th century. The title of dame as the official equivalent of knight was introduced in 1917" Wikipedia, Dame So there was a 250-300 year gap during which Dame may have been used as you think. See also oed.com/view/Entry/47043?redirectedFrom=dame#eid
    – ab2
    Jul 13, 2016 at 19:57
  • @jxh you could put together an erudite answer for before 1917 from the OED link. I would upvote it.
    – ab2
    Jul 13, 2016 at 20:08

As a title of respect, Miss, Ms and Mrs are the abbreviations used for women:


  • Other than conferred honours such as an OBE or knighthood, the title used - Esq or Mr, Miss, Ms or Mrs - is the choice of the entrant themselves.

  • "Esquire is more formal than Mr, and only used in written correspondence," says Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. "It's more old fashioned, and you would only use it on an envelope."

  • Nor is it ever written out in full.

  • So if one were to invite the Ashes hero to one's wedding or summer party, the envelope would be addressed to "Andrew Flintoff, Esq" but the invitation card itself would read "Mr and Mrs Andrew Flintoff".

From: (news.bbc.co.uk)

Note that in formal contexts, mainly AmE legal context, Esquire may be used for women too:

  • (initial capital letter) an unofficial title of respect, having no precise significance, sometimes placed, especially in its abbreviated form, after a man's surname in formal written address: in the U.S., usually applied to lawyers, women as well as men; in Britain, applied to a commoner considered to have gained the social position of a gentleman. Abbreviation: Esq.


In the Dictionary of Modern American Usage, author Bryan A. Garner, both a lawyer and a usage expert, says:

  • “Esq.” can be used in American English these days after the names of men and women alike to signify that they’re lawyers. But he says people shouldn’t use it after their own names—on their stationery and cards and so forth. Although it’s OK to use “Esq.” in reference to other people who are lawyers, it’s not necessary and it’s never used with another title, such as Mr. or Ms.

  • So if you’re the kind of person who likes to append “Esq.” to a male lawyer’s name, you should do likewise for a female. You might pretend it stands for “Esquiress,” a term the Oxford English Dictionary has recorded as being in use as far back as 1596.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.