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Is there a quaint-sounding/archaic dual to address women a la "[my] [good] sir" jovially in casual conversation? I can't come up with an expression that doesn't sound like a moderately intense term of endearment (e.g. my [fair] lady). Can you even sound quaint but still be modern?

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    I don't consider lady to be as endearing as you. Perhaps madam or even woman (i.e. "my good woman")? This question may be a better fit at Writers.SE as it's open-ended and likely to lead to extended debate or discussion.
    – Zairja
    Sep 27 '12 at 20:25
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    "Madam" works as a female equivalent in most places where for a man you would say "sir". "Lady" is the female equivalent of "gentleman".
    – Jay
    Sep 27 '12 at 20:31
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    The female knights I know all prefer dame as the feminine version of sir, but somehow, "my good dame" just doesn't really work.
    – Marthaª
    Sep 28 '12 at 5:36
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How "lady" is going to be received really depends on your audience. That said, some options are:

My good lady
My lady
My good woman
Madam
Woman

A lot will depend on context, too, as well as tone.

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    My mother-in-law reported being disgusted by a colleague from the American south addressing her as "the little lady."
    – JAM
    Sep 27 '12 at 20:46
  • Madam was my first thought....nice answer!
    – Shokhet
    Jul 4 '14 at 13:22
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My dear lady would sound quaint. It was used by Shakespeare.

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Context is lacking in the question, but as woman I would generally consider it sweet, workplace excluded, for a man to address me as kind lass (or lovely lass if his intention is to flirt).

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I used to date someone that lovingly called me "little lady" in my young-20's. I think if used the right way it can be very endearing. He would reach out and address me saying "Hey little lady!" I call people "sir" a lot and he may have been trying to mirror that language. I think that's a way to sound quaint and modern.

I've also called my younger cousin "little lady" when addressing her because she's young, bright, and for many years little.

However, I wouldn't use this to address an older woman like my mother. I think then "little" might have connotation ties with having "grown little" or shorter with age. However, this is all just my personal opinion. For an older woman, I might say "thank you, Miss" because even if they are married (and quite obviously a "Mrs.") I think if I were older, it would make me feel young or remind me of when I was a wee tot and so I find it a playful rendition for addressing older women, if done in the right way.

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