German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why is "ladies and gentlemen" translated as "meine Damen und Herren"?

share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Meine Güte! Wie, meine Dame, möchtet Ihr sonst angesprochen werden?

Ok, joking aside. It's a convention, my lady. Using English you have that convention, too, addressing a noble woman like I did in the last sentence (I have no idea if this is still used in English nowadays). "Madame" is the French equivalent.

"Meine Dame" and "Mein Herr" is old fashioned in German, but we still use this construction when addressing a group of people in a formal way. That's not the case in English, but I guess different countries could develop different traditions ;)

share|improve this answer

In general, addressing someone with "mein" or "meine" adds the connotation of familiarity (or perhaps even friendliness). I would assume this is because e.g. saying "Mein Max" distinguishes Max from all other persons of that name in the sense that the person saying it knows Max quite well.

Instead of saying "Meine Damen und Herren" you can also say "Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren" which is more formal (and not at all to be taken literally).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.