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 (mĕm′sä′hĭb, -sä′ĭb, -säb)
1. Used as a form of address for a European woman in South Asia.
2. A European woman in colonial India.
3. A female mountaineer employing Sherpas or porters in the Himalayas.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈmɛmˌsɑːɪb; -hɪb)
(formerly in India) a term of respect used of a European married woman
[C19: from ma'am + sahib]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈmɛmˌsɑ ɪb, -ib)

(formerly, in India) a term of respect for a married European woman.
[1855–60; < Hindi =mem (< E ma ' am) + sāhib master (< Arabic ṣāḥib)]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.memsahib - a woman sahibmemsahib - a woman sahib        
sahib - formerly a term of respect for important white Europeans in colonial India; used after the name
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈmemˌsɑːhɪb] N (India) → mujer f casada
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
Mentioned in ?
References in classic literature ?
There is no blessing in this work." In those days I rode seventy miles with an English Memsahib and her babe on my saddle-bow.
It would make sense to be appalled by an all-white band of musicians and a dolled-up English memsahib performing the ghazals of Khanum Jaan, but only if one claimed the scene as one's own.
"Actually, they are used to calling the managers bada saheb [big boss] and their spouses are referred to as memsahib [madam].
Flora Annie Steel: A Critical Study of an Unconventional Memsahib
Was she now the colonial memsahib? The benevolent bringer of bounty, or the ruthless trader, smiling her way back home?" (118).
"The Memsahib I could never be", Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge, p.8; cited in Hassan Mushirul (ed) p.42)
While Modi in this depiction represents a self-made son-of-the-soil, Singh is depicted as a lackey, evoking the colonial trope of serving a memsahib (European woman).
Jenny Sharpe argues in her famous study, Allegories of Empire, that Flora Annie Steel 'embodies the memsahib in all her contradictions' (93), as she lived for twenty-two years in India, gaining a very good knowledge of the country, its history and culture and even becoming conversant with one of the main languages of the subcontinent--Punjabi.
"Politics, Psyche and Feminine Time: Nancy Meckler's Sister, My Sister and Pratibha Parmar's Memsahib Rita." Feminist Time against Nation Time: Gender Politics and the Nation-State in an Age of Permanent War.
She has co-edited the book The Male Empire under the Female Gaze: The British Raj and the Memsahib (New York: Cambria, 2013).