The Word “Mistress”

When encountering Dominatrices you will see many of us use the title “Mistress”. While some of us love it, some feel quite differently, believing it is somehow insulting to a woman, her role and value. I want to clear that up.

Mistress is the femme version of Master. It was first used around the 14th century to denote a woman who rules in some way and has power. It is thought to have originated from the Middle English “maistresse”, which stemmed from the Anglo-French “mestresse”, which is the feminine of “mestre” which means “master”. (“Maîtresse” is the modern French derivative.)

As you can see below, this is and has been its primary meaning. The definition of a mistress as an “other woman” came much, much later.


In BDSM terminology, though the word technically has a more specific meaning of a femme assuming the M role in an M/s dynamic, as opposed to a D/s dynamic, it is extensively and loosely self-assigned by women who are professional Dommes and switches, even if they are not engaging in that form of power exchange with their play partners.

Some Dommes don’t like and use the term because they believe it implies they’re somehow subservient to the man or a “side chick”. This is understandable given how it has been used as a pejorative term in modern culture. However, if a woman has many men coming to her, married or not, sometimes doing so at their own peril, how is she subservient? How is she not the one with power? Perhaps the “other woman” meaning is in fact more a reflection of the original definition of a woman who “possesses, own, or controls” than some are inclined to believe. 😉

4 thoughts on “The Word “Mistress””

  1. Interesting and enlightening post as I had no idea that the origins of the word Mistress encompassed so much history. I was surprised that the connotation of the word seems more historically applicable to the traditional M/s definition.

    Thanks for the informative post. As always, you provide entertaining and informative thoughts!

  2. Mistress,Never saw the meaning as you put in your article but never thought of it as the “chick on the side”.I use the term with the utmost respect and thank you for letting me call you my Mistress.your pig,john la swine

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