Muke Tever writes: > From: "Tim May" <[log in to unmask]> > > It doesn't mean either. The point behind "Ms" is that with only the > > terms "Mrs" and "Miss", it's impossible to refer to a woman by means > > of an honorific without specifying her marital status. This was felt > > to be discriminatory, and "Ms" (pronounced, in my experience, /mIz/ or > > /mz/) was introduced as a direct counterpart of the male "Mr". It was > > coined in 1949, but didn't become popular until the '70s. > > But I think (in my limited experience) that "Ms" and "Miss" have merged, /mIz/ > everywhere, with /mIs/ in direct address (I don't think one could hear > [Iks'kjuwz mij mIz]...I could be wrong). > Certainly it'd be an unusual usage. But I don't think the word /mIs/ in direct address is the same word as Ms, and barely the same as Miss (when used as an honorific). It's a less formal variant of "Madame". You never, for example, say "Excuse me, missus." (unless you want to sound like a pre-war music-hall comedy act, maybe) even when you have good reason to believe that she's married. I've never to my knowledge heard anyone pronounce "Miss" (used as an honorific) as /mIz/. Things may, of course, be different in your dialect. "Ms" simply isn't used that much, although almost always given as an option on forms. There'd be an implication that anyone choosing to be addressed by such a term was either a militant feminist, or had some reason to keep her marital status secret. An unfortunate state of affairs.