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Style (form of address)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A style of office or form of address, also called manner of address, is an official or legally recognized form of address for a person or other entity (such as a government or company), and may often be used in conjunction with a personal title.[1][2] A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal capacity. Such styles are particularly associated with monarchies, where they may be used by a wife of an office holder or of a prince of the blood, for the duration of their marriage. They are also almost universally used for presidents in republics and in many countries for members of legislative bodies, higher-ranking judges, and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.

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Traditional forms of address at German-speaking universities:

  • His/Her Magnificence – rector (president) of a university
  • His/Her Notability (Seine Spektabilität; Professors have the privilege to use the Latin Spectabilis) – dean of a faculty

Traditional forms of address at Dutch-speaking universities:

  • His/Her Great Honour (Edelgrootachtbare heer/vrouwe) – rector magnificus (president) of a university
  • Highly Learned Sir/Madam (Hooggeleerde heer/vrouwe) – professor or dean of a faculty
  • Well (Noble) Very Learned Sir/Madam (Weledelzeergeleerde heer/vrouwe) – a doctor
  • Well (Noble) Learned Sir/Madam (De weledelgeleerde heer/vrouwe) – a doctorandus
  • Well (Noble) Strictly Sir/Madam (De weledelgestrenge heer/vrouwe) – a master in laws (meester in de rechten) or a university engineer (ingenieur)

Traditional forms of address at Italian-speaking universities:

  • Magnificent Rector (magnifico rettore) – rector (president, chancellor) of a university
  • Amplified Headmaster (amplissimo preside) – dean of a faculty (now uncommon)
  • Illustrious/Enlightened Professor (chiarissimo professore) – a full professor





Styles and titles of deposed monarchs

General tradition indicates that monarchs who have ceased to reign but not renounced their hereditary titles, retain the use of their style and title for the duration of their lifetimes, but both die with them. Hence, prior to his death, Greece's deposed king was often still styled His Majesty King Constantine II, as a personal title, not as occupant of a constitutional office, since the abolition of the monarchy by the Hellenic Republic in 1974. Similarly, until his death, the last King of Italy, Umberto II, was widely referred to as King Umberto II and sometimes addressed as Your Majesty. In contrast, Simeon of Bulgaria who, subsequent to the loss of his throne in 1947, was elected to and held the premiership of his former realm as "Simeon Sakskoburggotski", and therefore is as often referred to by the latter name as by his former royal title and style.

While this rule is generally observed, and indeed some exiled monarchs are allowed diplomatic passports by their former realm, other republics officially object to the use of such titles which are, nonetheless, generally accorded by extant monarchical regimes. In 1981, the then Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis declined to attend the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales when it was revealed that Greece's deposed monarch, a cousin of the Prince, had been referred to as "King" in his invitation. The current Hellenic Republic has challenged King Constantine's right to use his title and his passport was revoked in 1994 because he did not use a surname, as his passport at the time stated "Constantine, former King of the Hellenes". However, Constantine II later travelled in and out of Greece on a Danish diplomatic passport as a descendant of Christian IX of Denmark, by the name Constantino de Grecia (Spanish for "Constantine of Greece").


  • His/Her Excellency (abbreviation HE, oral address Your Excellency) – Presidents of republics (historically, this was first used to refer to George Washington during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of the Army during the American War of Independence; its use for presidents of republics was established as he was the first president of the first modern republic). In some countries also the prime minister, ministers, governors, ambassadors and high commissioners also use this style.
  • The President of the United States is properly directly addressed as "Mr./Madam President" and introduced as "The President of the United States"; however, His/Her/Your Excellency may properly be used in written communications and is sometimes used in official documents.
  • The custom in France is to call office holders acting within their official capacity M. (Monsieur) or Mme. (Madame) followed by the name of their offices.[citation needed] Thus, the President of the Republic is called M. le président or M. le président de la République if a male, and Mme... if a female. Styles such as "excellency" or similar are not used, except for talking about foreign dignitaries. Traditionally after "Madame", the name of the office is not put into the feminine form, but this is becoming less common (hence, "Madame le président" is being replaced by "Madame la présidente").
  • In Italy, members of the lower house (Chamber of Deputies) of the Parliament of Italy are styled Honourable (Italian: Onorevole, abbreviation On.). The correct form to address a member of the upper house (Senate) is Senator (Italian: Senatore, abbreviation Sen.; even though, for gravitas, they may also be addressed Honourable Senator).
  • The incumbent president of Finland is addressed Herra/Rouva Tasavallan Presidentti (Mr./Ms. President of the Republic), while a former president is addressed as just Herra/Rouva Presidentti.
  • The style used for the President of Ireland is normally His Excellency/Her Excellency (Irish: A Shoilse/A Soilse); sometimes people may orally address the President as 'Your Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse [ə ˈhəʎʃə]), or simply 'President' (Irish: A Uachtaráin [ə ˈuəxt̪ˠəɾˠaːnˠ] (vocative case)).
  • During the Republic of the United Netherlands, the States-General were collectively addressed as "Their High and Mighty Lords" (Dutch: Hoogmogende Heren).
  • The Honourable – Presidents, prime ministers, ministers, governors, members of parliament, senate and congress in some countries. (Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka.)


  • Doctor – In the United Kingdom, university degrees supporting medical and dental licensure are all bachelor's degrees (MB, MBBS, BDS, MB BS BAO, BMed, etc.). These graduates are addressed as 'doctor' by courtesy and convention.
  • Mr/Miss/Mrs – Surgeons in the UK revert to the title 'Mr', 'Miss' or 'Mrs' after obtaining the postgraduate qualification MRCS.[12] Other doctors, on the other hand, retain the title 'Doctor' after obtaining other postgraduate qualifications, such as MRCP.

Nautical and aeronautical

  • Captain – a person who commands and is responsible for the lives of crew and passengers on a naval or civil vessel or aircraft. In the US military, captain is used regardless of the actual rank of the person being addressed. For example, on a US naval vessel commanded by someone holding a rank of lieutenant commander or lower is addressed as "Captain", in reference to his position in command of the ship, not his military rank. This would apply even to an enlisted man in charge of a small boat.


In different countries


  • His/Her Majesty – The King or Queen of Australia
  • His/Her Excellency The HonourableGovernor-General and his or her spouse,[18][19] and The Honourable or His/Her Excellency for the rest of state governors (but not their spouse)
  • The Honourable – all current and former governors-general and Administrators of the Northern Territory, Justices of the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and state supreme courts
  • The Honourable – all current and former members of the Federal Executive Council and all current members of state executive councils and certain former members of state executive councils and long-serving members of state Legislative Councils (upper houses of state parliaments) that have been given the right to keep the title by permission of the governor of that state.
  • His/Her Honour (oral address Your Honour) – magistrates and judges in appellate, district and county courts.
  • The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor – Lord mayors of Australian cities
  • His/Her Worship – Administrators of territories (obsolete), magistrates (obsolete) and mayors.


Known as terasul in the Malay language.

  • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia (Kebawah DYMM), equivalent to His or Her Majesty (HM) – for Sultan and his first royal consort. The style is added more depends on the situation:
    • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan, for Sultan before coronation.
    • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan, for Sultan after coronation.
    • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Isteri for the queen consort before coronation
    • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Raja Isteri for the queen consort after coronation
    • Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Raja — for the second wife of the Sultan during coronation
  • Kebawah Duli, for a Sultan that has not gone through puberty.
  • Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Isteri, for the second wife of the Sultan after coronation
  • Duli Yang Teramat Mulia (DYTM), equivalent to His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) – for the Crown Prince and his consort and for the abdicated Sultan and his consort.
    • Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan — for Sultan that abdicated from the throne
    • Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Suri Seri Begawan Raja — for the Sultan's consort when the Sultan abdicated from the throne
    • Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Muda Mahkota — for the Crown Prince
    • Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri — for the Crown Prince's consort
  • Yang Teramat Mulia (YTM), to His or Her Royal Highness (HRH) – for the children of the Sultan that were born by their royal mother (both parents of the royal mother are royalties and not a commoner)
    • Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Duli Pengiran Muda — for the Sultan's son that has full royal blood
    • Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Puteri— for the Sultan's daughter by a royal mother (non-commoner)
    • Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Babu Raja — for the Queen Consort's mother
  • Yang Amat Mulia (YAM), for the consort of a royal prince and their children, and for the Sultan's children by their commoner mother
    • Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri — for the consort of the Sultan's son (full royal blood)
    • Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda — for the son (full royal blood) of the Sultan's son (full royal blood)
    • Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak — for the children of the Sultan that were born by a commoner mother; daughter (full royal blood) of the Sultan's son (full royal blood); children (full royal blood) of the Sultan's daughter (full royal blood); children (full royal blood) of the Sultan's children (half royal blood)
  • Yang Mulia (YM)
    • Yang Mulia Pengiran Anak — for the children that both parents hold the title Pengiran Anak
    • Yang Mulia Pengiran — for the children of a Pengiran Anak and his wife that is not also a Pengiran Anak; non-royal Pengiran (a commoner Pengiran)




  • Seigneur or Dame - Registered owners of an ancient Norman fief or seigneurie in Guernsey who have registered their Fief with the Crown and Royal Courts. Under the Feudal Dues law of 1980, the government of Guernsey sanctions the use of the style and distinction of Seigneur or Dame. [20]

New Zealand

  • Partial source:[21]
  • His/Her Majesty – King of New Zealand
  • His/Her Excellency – the current Governor-General (and the Governor-General's spouse).
  • The Right Honourable – the current and former prime ministers, the current and former Speakers of the Parliament of New Zealand, the current and former chief justices, the current and former governors general, and those who were appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom prior to New Zealand ceasing appeals to it in 2003.
  • The Honourable – the current and former ministers of the Crown, the current and former judges of the Supreme, High and Appeal courts
  • His/Her Honour – judges of district courts
  • His/Her Worship – mayors of territorial authorities and justices of the peace.


The Most Honourable – In Jamaica, governors-general, as well as their spouses, are entitled to be styled "The Most Honourable" upon receipt of the Jamaican Order of the Nation.[22] Prime ministers and their spouses are also styled this way upon receipt of the Order of the Nation, which is only given to Jamaican governors-general and prime ministers.[22]


His Excellency/Her Excellency is used before the name of President of India as well as before of governors of the states. However, it is not mandatory for an Indian citizen to use this style to address the president or the governors after a notification from the President House. But it is mandatory for foreigners to address the president and governors.[citation needed]

Your Honour/My Lord – It is used before the names of judges but now it is also not mandatory. The Supreme Court in a hearing said that people need to respect the judges and "Sir" is sufficient for it.[citation needed]

Royal styles in India

With a long history of rulers, there are many styles which vary from territory to territory and languages for royal families in India, commonly Maharaja (for king), Maharani (queen) whereas for their successors Raja, Rani (Maha meaning "Great" removed). Rajkumar (for prince) and Rajkumari (for princess).

Others include Hukam (commonly in Rajasthan), Sardar (kings in territories of Punjab within Sikh Empire), Badshah (Mughal Empire), Vazeer-e-Aala (in Mughal Empire) etc.

African traditional rulers

In most of Africa, many styles are used by traditional royalty.

Generally the vast majority of the members of these royal families use the titles Prince and Princess, while the higher ranked amongst them also use either Highness or Royal Highness to describe secondary appellations in their native languages that they hold in their realms, appellations that are intended to highlight their relative proximity to their thrones, either literally in the sense of the extant kingships of the continent or symbolically in the sense of its varied chiefships of the name, and which therefore serve a function similar to the said styles of Highness and Royal Highness.

For example, the Yoruba people of West Africa usually make use of the word Kabiyesi when speaking either to or about their sovereigns and other royals. As such, it is variously translated as Majesty, Royal Highness or Highness depending on the actual rank of the person in question, though a literal translation of the word would read more like this: He (or She) whose words are beyond questioning, Great Lawgiver of the Nation.

Within the Zulu Kingdom of Southern Africa, meanwhile, the monarch and other senior royals are often addressed as uNdabezitha meaning He (or She) Who Concerns the Enemy, but rendered in English as Majesty in address or reference to the king and his consorts, or Royal Highness in the case of other senior members of the royal family.

Hong Kong

The Chief Executive is styled as The Honourable.

Certain senior government officials (such as the Chief Secretary for Administration), President of the Legislative Council, members of the Executive Council, and members of the judiciary (such as the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal) are also styled as The Honourable.


In Ireland, holders of offices with Irish names are usually addressed in English by its nominative form (so, 'Taoiseach' and 'Tánaiste'), though the Irish vocative forms differ (a Thaoisigh and a Thánaiste). The President may be styled 'His/Her Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse, IPA: ˈhəil̠ʲʃə] / A Soilse ˈsˠəl̠ʲʃə]) and addressed 'Your Excellency' (Irish: A Shoilse), or simply 'President' (Irish: A Uachtaráin ˈuəxt̪ˠəɾˠaːnʲ]). The titles 'Minister' and 'Senator' are used as forms of address; only the latter as a style. A TD (Teachta Dála) is formally addressed and styled as 'Deputy', though often simply Mr, Mrs, etc. Similarly, county and city councillors can be addressed as 'Councillor', abbreviated Cllr. which is used as a written style, but are just as frequently addressed as Mr, Mrs etc.



  • His Majesty – The King of Morocco.
  • His Imperial Majesty – The Sultan of Morocco (before 1957, now obsolete).
  • His/Her Royal Highness – Prince and princess of Morocco (used for children, grandchildren and siblings of the king as well as for the Princess Consort).
  • His/Her Highness – Prince and princess of Morocco (used for cousins, uncles and aunts of the king).


  • His/Her Excellency – The president of the Philippines.[23] The title in Filipino is Ang Mahal na Pangulo (The Well-Esteemed President). The honorific for the President of the Philippines was adopted from the title of the governor-general of the Philippines during Spanish and American colonial periods. The president may be addressed as "Your Excellency" or more informally as "Mr. President" or "Madam(e) President".
  • The Honorable – The vice president of the Philippines, members of the Congress of the Philippines, justices of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, governors and vice governors of provinces, mayors and vice mayors of cities or municipalities, and other elected or appointed officials in the government. The title is also conferred to elected and appointed officials of student or other people's organizations that have great participation in creating, implementing, and interpreting policies of the organization. The title in Filipino is Ang Kagalanggalang (The Honorable). In Senate and congressional inquiries, impeachment procedures, and electoral canvasses, senators, representatives, and officials of the Commission on Elections when they convene as provincial and national boards of canvassers, are mostly addressed as Your Honor, because they perform quasi-judicial functions.
  • His Magnificence the Very Reverend - The rector magnificus of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas.
  • Sir/Madam(e) – Common informal manner of address.
  • Illustrious Knight, Sir/Lady – Titles for members of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, the Philippines' only order of knighthood created by law.
  • Paduka Mahasari Maulana al Sultan – The sultan of Sulu.


  • His/Her Majesty – the monarch of Spain, when referred to as monarch. When referred to as Head of State, he is usually styled "His Excellency the Head of State".
  • His/Her Royal Highness – the Prince of Asturias and the Infantes (non-heir apparent royal princes).
  • His/Her Excellency (su excelencia) – spouses and children of the Infantes, Grandees of Spain, ministers, either from the central government ("ministros") or from autonomous government ("consejeros"), as well as regional presidents. Mayors and town councils[citation needed].
  • His/Her Illustriousness (su ilustrísima) – marquesses, counts, viscounts, junior ministers either from the central government ("secretarios de estado") or from autonomous government ("vice-consejeros"), justices ("magistrados"), certain prosecutors, members of the royal academies and the holders of certain Spanish decorations.
  • His/Her Most Excellent and Magnificent Lord – Rector of a university.
  • His Lordship/Her Ladyship (su señoría) – barons, seigneurs, members of parliament, judges, court clerks.


  • His/Her Majesty – The King and Queen of Thailand.
  • His/Her Royal Highness – Prince and princess of Thailand (used for children and grandchildren of the king) from "Chao-Fa" (เจ้าฟ้า) (the most senior rank of prince/princess) to "Phra Chao Worawongse Ther Phra Ong Chao" (พระเจ้าวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) (a mid-level, lesser class of prince and princess than Chao Fa). This style is also used for princess consort (now obsolete).
  • His/Her Highness – Prince and princess of Thailand of the rank "Phra Worawong Ther Phra Ong Chao" (พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้า) which are born in the title as Mom Chao to whom the king later granted this higher title, either as recognition of merit, or as a special favour.
  • His/Her Serene Highness – Prince and princess of title Mom Chao (m)/Mom Chao Ying (f) (หม่อมเจ้า/หม่อมเจ้าหญิง, abbreviated in Thai as ม.จ. or in English as M.C.) is the most junior class still considered royalty. This is normally when surnames first appear among royal lineages. They are either: Children of a male Chao Fa and a commoner.Children of a male Phra Ong Chao. Informally, they are styled "Than Chai" (m)... /"Than Ying" (f)... (ท่านชาย.../ท่านหญิง...).
  • The Honourable – Mom Rajawongse (หม่อมราชวงศ์, RTGS: Mom Ratchawong; abbreviated in Thai as ม.ร.ว. or in English as M.R. and also translated into English as The Honourable) is the title assumed by children of male Mom Chao. The title is pronounced "Mom Rachawong". Informally, they may be styled as "Khun Chai" (m).../ "Khunying" (f)... (คุณชาย.../คุณหญิง...).

United Kingdom

"The Right Honourable" is added as a prefix to the name of various collective entities such as:

Styles existing through marriage in the United Kingdom

Styles can be acquired through marriage, although traditionally this applies more to wives of office-holders than to husbands. Thus, in the United Kingdom, Anne, Princess Royal, is styled Her Royal Highness (HRH), her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, bears no courtesy style by virtue of being her husband (although his mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, has since knighted him), nor do her children bear any title or style, by right or tradition, despite being in the line of succession to the Crown, until 2015 subject to the Royal Marriages Act 1772. In contrast, when Sophie Rhys-Jones married Prince Edward, she became HRH the Countess of Wessex (&c.) and their children are entitled (although they do not use them) to the princely prefix and the style of HRH, and do bear courtesy titles derived from their father.

Styles and titles can change when a marriage is dissolved. The Lady Diana Frances Spencer held the style Her Royal Highness during her marriage to HRH The Prince of Wales and the title Princess of Wales. When the couple divorced she lost her style: she became instead Diana, Princess of Wales. (although she fit the criteria which customarily accords the prefix of "Lady" to the daughter of an earl, and she had been known as such prior to marriage, she did not revert to that title following divorce).

When applied to the current Princess of Wales, inclusion of a definite article ("The Princess of Wales"), is, like HRH, part of the style which accompanies the title. When King Charles III (Then; HRH the Prince of Wales) was remarried to Camilla Parker-Bowles in compliance with the Royal Marriages Act, she lawfully became HRH The Princess of Wales but, as was the announced intention prior to the couple's wedding, she continues to use the lesser title derived from her husband's Duchy of Cornwall and was known as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, until the accession of her husband as King, because of the strong association to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

From the divorce until her death in 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales ceased to hold any royal style, although the monarch declared that she remained a Princess of the United Kingdom and in occasions when members of the Royal Family appeared in public, she continued to be accorded the same royal precedence.

When Sarah Ferguson was divorced from her husband, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, she too lost her HRH style, the rank as a British Princess and was re-styled as "Sarah, Duchess of York".

In 1936, Wallis Simpson was denied the HRH style by George VI when she married his older brother, the former Edward VIII, who became HRH the Duke of Windsor following his abdication and receipt of a peerage.

United States

The names of most current and former elected federal and state officials and judges in the United States are styled "The Honorable" in writing, (e.g., "The Honorable Mike Rawlings, Mayor of the City of Dallas"). Many are addressed by their title in conversation as "Mister" or "Madam" ("Mr. President", "Madam Mayor") or simply by their name with their appropriate title e.g., "Senator Jones" or "Commissioner Smith".[24][25]

Continued use of a title after leaving office depends on the office: those of which there is only one at a time (e.g., president, speaker, governor, or mayor) are only officially used by the current office holder.[citation needed] However, titles for offices of which there are many concurrent office holders (e.g., ambassador, senator, judge, professor or military ranks, especially colonel and above) are retained for life: A retired US Army general is addressed as "General (Name)" officially and socially for the rest of their life. Military retirees are entitled to receive pay and are still counted as members of the United States Armed Forces. Accordingly, all retired military ranks are retained for life pursuant to Title 10 of the United States Code. In the case of the President, while the title is officially dropped after leaving office[citation needed] – e.g., Dwight Eisenhower reverted to his prior style "General Eisenhower" in retirement – it is still widely used as an informal practice; e.g., Jimmy Carter is still often called President Carter. The Vice President is typically referred to as "former Vice President", such as "former Vice President Mike Pence." Similarly, governors are typically addressed in later life as "Governor (Name)", particularly if running for further political office. Mitt Romney, for example, was frequently referred to as "Governor Romney" during his 2012 presidential campaign and was addressed as such formally in the debates,[26][27] having been Governor of Massachusetts until 2007.[24][25]

  • The names of judges are styled "The Honorable" in writing, and orally in court as "Your Honor", or by name after "Judge". Chief justices of supreme courts are addressed orally as "Mr. or Madam Chief Justice" or "Chief Justice"; associate justices by name with "Justice" (or, simply "Justice").
  • The names of mayors are styled "The Honorable" in writing. In municipalities (e.g., New York City and Chicago), mayors are addressed in conversation as "Your Honor". This may be a vestige of the fact that the mayors (and some others) were also magistrates of the court system.
  • His or Her Excellency (oral address "Excellency", "Your Excellency") was once customarily used of governors of states, though this has given way to "The Honorable", the form used to address all elected officials in the United States. "Excellency" has continued in the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia and the states of South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
  • The names of members of the House of Representatives are similarly styled in writing as "The Honorable". Orally they are traditionally addressed by name as "Mr." or "Ms.", but as a practice are sometimes addressed as "Representative" or "Congressman" or "Congresswoman" when it is necessary or desirable to specify the member's status. It is advisable to follow the preference of the individual official. Following precedence in Westminster style of parliament, when writing their own names, especially on stationery and franks, Representatives have upon occasion followed their names with "M.C." (Member of Congress).[28] The names of senators similarly are addressed in writing as "The Honorable" and orally as "Senator". Where Representatives may have used "M.C.", Senators have used "U.S.S." (United States Senator).[29] However, neither form is currently used by members in Washington, DC. On the actual floor of the houses during debate, members commonly refer to one another as the gentleman or gentlewoman from their appropriate state (e.g., "As my friend, the distinguished gentleman from Ohio, just said..." or "I yield three minutes to the gentleman from New York, Mr. Smith"). In debate, senators sometimes refer to colleagues as the junior or senior senator from a state, (e.g., "I disagree with my dear friend, the junior senator from Ohio..."). Senators also commonly use this form of address.
  • While the term "Esquire", abbreviated "Esq." after the name (John Jones, Esq.), has no legal meaning in the U.S. and may be used by anyone (or at least, customarily, by any male), it is correctly used when addressing lawyers in correspondence as an indication of their profession. At least one American jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, limits the use of "Esquire" (and similar terms) to licensed attorneys.[30] Although some authorities previously urged that use of "Esq." should be restricted to male lawyers, today the term is used for both male and female attorneys. The academic post-nominal J.D. (Juris Doctor) may be used by graduates of law schools who are not members of the bar of any state or who are working outside the legal profession.
  • In academic fields, it is customary in the U.S. to refer to those holding any level of professorship (professor, assistant professor, associate professor, adjunct professor, etc.) as "Professor" – as in "Professor Jones" – orally or in writing. In writing, "professor" is often abbreviated as "Prof.", as in "Prof. Jones". Those holding academic doctorates are frequently referred to as "Dr. Jones."
  • Military personnel of any functionality (doctors, lawyers, engineers, cooks, fighter pilots, motor pool drivers, commanding officers, security guards ... officers and enlisted ... leaders and followers) are always addressed by rank + name; with the exception of chaplains, who are addressed as "Chaplain" and are addressed in writing with their rank in parentheses, e.g.: "Chaplain (Major) Jones". An exception to this is in the Navy, where in writing the rank is either not used, or is used before the person's name with the corps designator "CHC" indicating the officer is a chaplain put behind their name. e.g.: "LT George Burdell, CHC, USN". In the United States Navy, there is an internal practice aboard ships that junior officers who are not in command may be addressed by their rank or as "Mister/Miss X" as in "Lieutenant Junior Grade Smith" or "Miss Smith". This practice is also followed within the United States Coast Guard, both aboard ship and ashore. Junior officers in both services are understood to be those of lieutenant commander and below. Senior officers (commander and above) are addressed by their rank as in "Commander Smith" or "Admiral Smith". While officially this manner of address is supposed to be from a senior rank to a junior rank, i.e. captain to lieutenant, in practice it is not unknown for enlisted personnel to refer to junior officers as Mister as well. While commonly referred to by their rank, i.e. Seaman/Airman/Fireman/Petty Officer X or (Senior/Master) Chief X, on formal occasions, e.g. weddings, an enlisted man's full title is sometimes used, starting with their rating, then their rank, and their name, e.g. Electronics Technician Second Class X or Chief Gunner's Mate Y. When written, e.g. in formal invitations, the enlisted man's name is written as "Serviceman's name, USN/USMC/USA/USAF/USCG", without one's rank preceding their name, unlike commissioned officers.
  • Any officer in command of a ship is referred to as Captain for the period of their command or in reference to the ship, regardless of what rank they normally hold.[24][25]
  • Retired military personnel may continue to be addressed by their rank at the time of their retirement. Those who held 'brevet' ranks higher than their permanent rank (permanent Army officers who held temporary rank in volunteer regiments during the American Civil War) also held this honor; though all such individuals have now perished, this usage is often seen in historical or fictional sources placed in the 1865–1900 period. [24][25]
  • Hamilton v. Alabama, 376 U.S. 650 (1964), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the court held that an African-American woman, Mary Hamilton, was entitled to the same courteous forms of address customarily reserved solely for whites in the Southern United States,[31] and that calling a black person by their first name in a formal context was "a form of racial discrimination".[32]

Former styles

All former monarchies had styles, some, as in the Bourbon monarchy of France, extremely complicated depending on the status of the office or office-holder. Otto von Habsburg, who was Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary (1916–1918), had the style 'His Imperial and Royal Highness'. He was last addressed as such by church figures during the funeral of his late mother, Empress-Queen Zita of Austria-Hungary in 1989, although the use of these styles has been prohibited in Austria since 1920.[33]

For the styles of address to government officials in Imperial Russia, see Table of Ranks.

The names of some offices are also titles, which are retained by the office holder for life. For example, holders of titles of which there are many at the same time, such as ambassadors, senators, judges, and military officers who retire retain use of their hierarchical honorific for life. Holders of titles of which there is only one office holder at a time such as president, chief justice or speaker revert to their previous honorific when they leave office out of deference to the current office holder.

Other parallel symbols

Styles were often among the range of symbols that surrounded figures of high office. Everything from the manner of address to the behaviour of a person on meeting that personage was surrounded by traditional symbols. Monarchs were to be bowed to by men and curtsied to by women. Senior clergy, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church, were to have their rings (the symbol of their authority) kissed by lay persons while they were on bended knee, while cardinals in an act of homage at the papal coronation were meant to kiss the feet of the Supreme Pontiff, the Pope.

Many of these traditions have lapsed or been partially abandoned. At his inauguration as pope in 1978 (itself the abandonment of the traditional millennium-old papal coronation), Pope John Paul II himself kissed cardinals on the cheeks, rather than follow the traditional method of homage of having his feet kissed.

Similarly, styles, though still used, are used less often. The former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, was usually referred to as President Mary McAleese, not President McAleese, as had been the form used for the first six presidents, from President Hyde to President Hillery. Tony Blair asked initially to be called Tony. First names, or even nicknames, are often widely used among politicians in the US, even in formal situations (as an extreme example, President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter chose to take the Oath of Office using his nickname). One notable exception involves judges: a judge of any court is almost invariably addressed as "Your Honor" while presiding over his or her court, and often at other times as well. This style has been removed in the Republic of Ireland, where judges are addressed only as "Judge".

However, styles are still widely used in formal documents and correspondence between heads of state, such as in a letter of credence accrediting an ambassador from one head of state to another.


The term self-styled, or soi-disant, roughly means awarding a style to oneself, often without adequate justification or authority, but the expression often refers to descriptions or titles (such as "aunt", "expert", "Doctor", or "King"), rather than true styles in the sense of this article.

See also


1 Though the Republic of Ireland does not possess a Privy Council, the style is still used. The Lord Mayor of Dublin is still styled the Right Honourable, as previous lord mayors of Dublin were ex-officio members of the former Irish Privy Council until its abolition in 1922.


  1. ^ "style: meaning and definitions". Random House Unabridged Dictionary. Infoplease. 1997. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Definition of style". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxford University Press. 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ "No. 4 of 2005 – Form of Address". Practice Directions. Magistrates Court of Tasmania. 4 September 2009. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  4. ^ See Substantive title
  5. ^ A.F. Pollard (5 January 2007). HENRY VIII. Chehab Pubber. p. 244. GGKEY:HQGF65AUEWU.
  6. ^ Angus Stevenson, ed. (2007). Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Vol. 1, A–M (Sixth ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 737. ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2.
  7. ^ a b Tourtchine, Jean-Fred (September 1987). "Le Royaume de Portugal - Empire du Brésil". Cercle d'Études des Dynasties Royales Européennes (CEDRE). III: 103. ISSN 0764-4426.
  8. ^ a b Wood, Paul (1 August 2005). "Life and legacy of King Fahd". BBC News. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz". Archived from the original on 20 January 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  10. ^ a b Pennell, Richard (11 March 2016). "What is the significance of the title 'Amīr al-mu'minīn?'". The Journal of North African Studies. 21 (4): 623–644. doi:10.1080/13629387.2016.1157482. S2CID 148543546.
  11. ^ a b Valentine, Simon, Ross. Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jamaʻat: History, Belief, Practice. Columbia University Press. p. 208.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Why are surgeons in the UK called Mr...",
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Styles of address » Religious dignitaries". Government of Canada. 16 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Style Guide". Episcopal Church. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Honoring the Priesthood". Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  17. ^ Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition. The World Publishing Company, Cleveland and New York. 1966. p. 1719
  18. ^ "The title 'The Honourable' for Governors-General".
  19. ^ "Contact". Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  20. ^ "Guernsey Feudal Dues Law - Use of Styles".
  21. ^ "DPMC - New Zealand Honours: The Honourable and the Privy Council". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011.
  22. ^ a b "National Awards of Jamaica" Archived 2021-12-20 at the Wayback Machine, Jamaica Information Service, accessed 12 May 2015.
  23. ^ "1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library – via
  24. ^ a b c d Vanderbilt, Amy (1995). The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette (50th Anniversary ed.). Doubleday. ISBN 9780385413428.
  25. ^ a b c d Conetsco, Cherlynn (2009). Service Etiquette (5th ed.). Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781591143574.
  26. ^ "CPD: October 22, 2012 Debate Transcript".
  27. ^ "October 16, 2012 Debate Transcript, Obama vs Romney". Archived from the original on 5 September 2015.
  28. ^ See, e.g., File:Congressional Frank 1921 T.S. Butler.jpg (scan of a Representative's frank).
  29. ^ See, e.g., File:Franked.jpg (scan of franked envelope from a U.S. Senator).
  30. ^ "Ethics Opinion 344". The District of Columbia Bar. 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  31. ^ Bobrow, Jerry (2005). Barron's How to Prepare for the LSAT, Law School Admission Test. Barron's Educational Series. p. 587. ISBN 978-0-7641-2412-9. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  32. ^ "Call Her Miss". Time. April 10, 1964. Archived from the original on July 19, 2005. Retrieved July 13, 2013. (Subscription required.)
  33. ^ "Bundesrecht: Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für Adelsaufhebungsgesetz" (in German). Federal Chancellery of Austria. 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011.

External links

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