Does the law say you must have a title?

8 views
Skip to first unread message

Andrew Eakin

unread,
Apr 5, 1991, 5:28:40 AM4/5/91
to
In article <1991Apr4.0...@newcastle.ac.uk> w.p....@uk.ac.newcastle writes:
> Has anyone else noticed how in the privatisation share issues men
>are called
> name, Esq eg J Smith Esq
>while women
> title name eg Miss J Smith.
>
>Why is this? Are men not considered human enough to have a title :-)
>or are women classed with children as not being fully adult so requiring
>a title? :-)

Esq is short for Esquire and *is* a title used for men. It is a bit
old-fashioned and is used much less now than in the past.

Andy.
----
Andrew J. Eakin
Accountancy & Computer Science III email: and...@cs.hw.ac.uk
Heriot-Watt University or: acc...@clust.hw.ac.uk
Edinburgh.

Craig Cockburn

unread,
Apr 5, 1991, 3:21:10 AM4/5/91
to
In article <1991Apr4.0...@newcastle.ac.uk>, w.p....@uk.ac.newcastle writes:
|>From: w.p....@uk.ac.newcastle
|>Newsgroups: soc.culture.british
|>Subject: Does the law say you must have a title?
|>Reply-To: w.p....@uk.ac.newcastle

|>
|>Normally on forms they ask for your title (Mr, Mrs, Miss etc). If you
|>don't put one they often give you one on the letters they send you. As
|>a person's name (say John Smith) does not include the title Mr. would
|>you be allowed to insist they do not use a title.
|>
|> After all if you are dealing with someone through the post and there
|>put J. Smith on the envelope having a Mr. before it is not really
|>necessary


|>
|> Has anyone else noticed how in the privatisation share issues men
|>are called
|> name, Esq eg J Smith Esq
|>while women
|> title name eg Miss J Smith.
|>
|>Why is this? Are men not considered human enough to have a title :-)
|>or are women classed with children as not being fully adult so requiring
|>a title? :-)
|>

This is one of my pet peeves, this obsession with titles and formality
which many people in Britain have. However, I have managed to get 'Mr'
removed from virtually all my records (cheque book, bank cards etc etc).
When filling in forms, I score out the 'Mr/Miss/Mrs' bit (yes, many forms
still don't have Ms (!)) and put 'No title or Esq please'. I think one
of the main problems is inflexible computer systems rather than any law.
If the computer needs the field to be filled in, then it needs to be filled
in. So on my share application forms there was a "*" where a title should be.
Why these computers can't accept a space I have no idea.

On the net, it seems common practice not to use titles much, a move
which I welcome. Here at Digital, they are virtually unused. Even people
with PhD's rarely call themselves 'Dr', and even the head of Digital is
simply 'Ken Olsen'

The trend is far from new however. Scots Gaelic for instance has never
really had a word for 'Mr', 'Miss' etc, and the nearest equivalent I have seen
is 'Mgr' which was taken from the Latin 'Maigister' (sp?) - the same word
which gave rise to 'Mister'. This was only so that 'Mr' could be translated
into Gaelic from English texts. When a native Gaelic speaker wrote to me
a few months ago, they opened up the letter with 'Dear Craig Cockburn'
rather than 'Dear Mr Cockburn' or 'Dear Craig'. In the US, the use of
titles seems much less widespread than in the UK. This fact, and the lack
of use of titles amongst Gaels are useful arguments in persuading people
to drop the spurious 'Mr'. I think the trend in this country against titles
is gaining ground though.

Once Mr is dropped however, many people automatically think that 'Esq'
should be appended. You can argue against them on their own ground here.
Esq is not a term which is technically applicable to the whole population,
and should only be applied to people above a specific social 'rank'. See
any good book on etiquette for more information on this.

Regarding women, the situation is a bit different there. People generally
ask a women if they are a 'Miss' or a 'Mrs', which at least gives them the
opportunity to reply 'Ms' or 'no title please'. Men don't get this
opportunity, they just get called 'Mr' regardless. Women also don't get
the 'Esq' treatment either. I think titles on women may disappear quicker
than titles on men. After all, women either give away their marital
status (which many don't want to do) or use 'Ms' which casts them as a
rapant feminist in some peoples eyes. My partner (none of this spouse
equivalent/SO rubbish!!) doesn't use titles either for this reason.

I don't think it's a particularly unreasonable request to ask to use
my name as it appears on my birth certificate, driving licence and passport!
Some people think they have the right to tell me how I should use my name!!!!

The best way to encourage the trend away from titles is to just score out
the section on forms and write 'no title please' or 'no title or Esq please'
as appropriate I think. Then we might get flexible computer systems!

With increased European integration on the way, perhaps we need to think
about whether we want to call foreigners by UK titles, or retain their
native titles too. eg. Monsieur, Herr, Segnor etc. It would probably
be easier to drop titles altogether, but we live in a varied world and
if some people wish to use titles, then that is their choice and we should
learn to accommodate them.

Craig
--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Craig Cockburn, Digital Equipment Co. Ltd, Reading, England.

ARPAnet: cock...@system.enet.dec.com
UUCP:..!decwrl!system.enet.dec.com!cockburn

{ Airson Alba Ur }

Views expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily
reflect those of Digital.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ian Kemmish

unread,
Apr 7, 1991, 10:49:50 AM4/7/91
to

But `mister' isn't a title, it's an honorific. `Sir' and `Lord'
are titles (is Sir?, I've always assumed it is - correct me someone!)
I like people to be polite to me. What I really want is for a
Japanese to respect me enough to call me Kemmish-san....

And of course, for all you pedant out there, I counldn't fail to
mention REverend, which isn't a title either.

--
Ian D. Kemmish Tel. +44 767 601 361
18 Durham Close uad...@dircon.UUCP
Biggleswade ukc!dircon!uad1077
Beds SG18 8HZ United Kingdom uad...@dircon.co.uk

Jim Breen

unread,
Apr 7, 1991, 10:45:44 PM4/7/91
to
In article <1991Apr07.1...@dircon.co.uk>, uad...@dircon.co.uk (Ian Kemmish) writes:
>
> But `mister' isn't a title, it's an honorific. `Sir' and `Lord'
> are titles (is Sir?, I've always assumed it is - correct me someone!)

Hmm. My Concise OED has them all as titles, along with Dr,
Professor, etc.

I guess we might argue about titles vs Titles.

> I like people to be polite to me. What I really want is for a
> Japanese to respect me enough to call me Kemmish-san....
>

Ah, they will; almost always. They'll only stop calling you ~-san
when they are being *very* rude, or if you become a very famous
public figure like a PM.

--
Jim Breen AARNet:j...@monu6.cc.monash.edu.au
Department of Robotics & Digital Technology.
Monash University. PO Box 197 Caulfield East VIC 3145 Australia
(ph) +61 3 573 2552 (fax) +61 3 573 2745 JIS:$B%8%`!!%V%j!<%s(J

William Coyne

unread,
Apr 8, 1991, 4:10:48 AM4/8/91
to
uad...@dircon.co.uk (Ian Kemmish) writes:

>But `mister' isn't a title, it's an honorific. `Sir' and `Lord'
>are titles (is Sir?, I've always assumed it is - correct me someone!)
>I like people to be polite to me. What I really want is for a
>Japanese to respect me enough to call me Kemmish-san....

It may not be a title but most forms say something like
Title (Mr, Mrs, Miss etc)

Surely it would be nice if people are going to have to use a title/honorific,
that they be given the choice as to whther their surname or first name is used.
Perhaps men could choose between Sir and Mr as in
John Smith could be Sir John or Mr Smith.

I think it was Peter Ustinov who recently received a knighthood and said he
was glad people would now call him by his first name.

Department of Process and Chemical Engineering, +
Newcastle University, United Kingdom. + "You can lead a horse to
+ to water, but a pencil
JANET: W.P....@uk.ac.newcastle + must be lead,"
UUCP : ...!ukc!newcastle.ac.uk!W.P.Coyne + Stan Laurel
ARPA : W.P....@newcastle.ac.uk +
................ ................................+.......................

Andrew Merritt

unread,
Apr 5, 1991, 8:01:26 AM4/5/91
to
> Has anyone else noticed how in the privatisation share issues men
>are called
> name, Esq eg J Smith Esq
>while women
> title name eg Miss J Smith.
>
>Why is this? Are men not considered human enough to have a title :-)

Well, Esq. IS a title, of a higher rank than plain Mr. I am not up
on the 'correct' usage of it, but a friend of mine used to work at a shop in
London that had strict rules on who should be addressed as Mr and who as Esq.
(I think the deciding factor was military service).

Martin Baines - Sun UK - SE Manager Cambridge/Gatwick

unread,
Apr 8, 1991, 4:40:05 AM4/8/91
to

In article <1991Apr5.0...@hollie.rdg.dec.com>,
cock...@system.enet.dec.com (Craig Cockburn) writes:
[deleted background postings]

|> This is one of my pet peeves, this obsession with titles and formality
|> which many people in Britain have. However, I have managed to get 'Mr'
|> removed from virtually all my records (cheque book, bank cards etc etc).
|> When filling in forms, I score out the 'Mr/Miss/Mrs' bit (yes, many forms
|> still don't have Ms (!)) and put 'No title or Esq please'. I think one
|> of the main problems is inflexible computer systems rather than any law.
|> If the computer needs the field to be filled in, then it needs to be filled
|> in. So on my share application forms there was a "*" where a title
should be.
|> Why these computers can't accept a space I have no idea.
[deleted comments re getting rid of titles]

This is close to one of my pet peeves:

I generally agree with Craig's views on not using titles, but what
I *really* hate is people who call *themselves* Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms. These
are *curtosy* titles and should not be used in self reference, only
when addressing someone else. E.g. answering the phone "Hello Mr. X
here" is wrong.

In fact many medical "Doctors" in the UK are only Dr. by curtosy and
should not use the title themselves either. Ph.Ds, (real) M.Ds or Ch.Ds
etc are the ones *actually* entitled to use Dr. in self reference.

The reason this annoys me so much is the fact I had it drumed into
me by my father, who used to be a protocol office when he was in the
Navy. Yes, he really did get paid to know the correct form of
address for (say) an Archbishop of the Greek Orthadox church.
(Your Beatitude, if anyone's interested :-)).

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| "You might say that, but I couldn't possibly comment" |
| |
| Martin Baines, Sales Support Manager, |
| Sun Microsystems Ltd, 306 Science Park, Cambridge, CB4 4WG, UK |
| |
| Phone Email |
| UK: 0223 420421 JANET: Martin...@uk.co.sun |
| International: +44 223 420421 Other UK: Martin...@sun.co.uk |
| Internet: Martin...@UK.sun.com |
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

J Bradfield

unread,
Apr 8, 1991, 4:27:05 PM4/8/91
to
In <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> mar...@bottomdog.East.Sun.COM (Martin Baines - Sun UK - SE Manager Cambridge/Gatwick) writes:

>I generally agree with Craig's views on not using titles, but what
>I *really* hate is people who call *themselves* Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms. These
>are *curtosy* titles and should not be used in self reference, only
>when addressing someone else. E.g. answering the phone "Hello Mr. X
>here" is wrong.


True, but how do you tell someone which of the four to give you when
they write back?
This also applies to Esq.: of course, you *never*
call yourself Esq. Unless, of course, you actually are one. I was
quite surprised to get a letter from York Herald with Conrad Swan,
Esquire in the letterhead, but I presume he knows his stuff.


Another peeve is the automatic assumption by almost everybody that
anybody whose address includes the word "University" must be a doctor.
(Let alone the "Professor"s we get from the other side of the
Atlantic.)

Peter Kendell

unread,
Apr 8, 1991, 6:15:51 PM4/8/91
to

>Once Mr is dropped however, many people automatically think that 'Esq'
>should be appended. You can argue against them on their own ground here.
>Esq is not a term which is technically applicable to the whole population,
>and should only be applied to people above a specific social 'rank'. See
>any good book on etiquette for more information on this.

According to Debrett's _Etiquette & Modern Manners_ an untitled man is
addressed as, e.g. "Charles Newby, Esq" on envelopes. Letters to him start
"Dear Mr Newby", he is introduced and verbally addressed as "Mr Newby" and
his place card says "Mr Charles Newby". This is *independent* of social
rank, although at one time "Esq" indicated a landowner.

>Regarding women, the situation is a bit different there. People generally
>ask a women if they are a 'Miss' or a 'Mrs', which at least gives them the
>opportunity to reply 'Ms' or 'no title please'. Men don't get this
>opportunity, they just get called 'Mr' regardless. Women also don't get
>the 'Esq' treatment either. I think titles on women may disappear quicker
>than titles on men. After all, women either give away their marital
>status (which many don't want to do) or use 'Ms' which casts them as a
>rapant feminist in some peoples eyes. My partner (none of this spouse
>equivalent/SO rubbish!!) doesn't use titles either for this reason.

Hospitals use forename, surname for everyone which avoids the problem of
marital status. Shows it can be done.

>I don't think it's a particularly unreasonable request to ask to use
>my name as it appears on my birth certificate, driving licence and passport!
>Some people think they have the right to tell me how I should use my name!!!!

Surely they're telling you how *they* are going to use your name, not how
you should?

>The best way to encourage the trend away from titles is to just score out
>the section on forms and write 'no title please' or 'no title or Esq please'
>as appropriate I think. Then we might get flexible computer systems!

Or miskeyings by confused clerks who don't have any chance to shape the
systems they have to work with.

>With increased European integration on the way, perhaps we need to think
>about whether we want to call foreigners by UK titles, or retain their
>native titles too. eg. Monsieur, Herr, Segnor etc. It would probably
>be easier to drop titles altogether, but we live in a varied world and
>if some people wish to use titles, then that is their choice and we should
>learn to accommodate them.

Many mainland Europeans prefer to be addressed by their professional titles
- "Herr Doktor" or "Herr Weingut" in Germany, for example.

Peter
--
Peter

mathew

unread,
Apr 9, 1991, 10:27:03 AM4/9/91
to
ecs...@castle.ed.ac.uk (J Bradfield) writes:
> This also applies to Esq.: of course, you *never*
> call yourself Esq. Unless, of course, you actually are one.

There doesn't seem to be any general agreement as to what constitutes a right
to take the title "Esquire".


mathew

--
If you're a John Foxx fan, please mail me!

S G Prowse

unread,
Apr 9, 1991, 8:34:54 AM4/9/91
to
In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
>
>In fact many medical "Doctors" in the UK are only Dr. by curtosy and
>should not use the title themselves either. Ph.Ds, (real) M.Ds or Ch.Ds
>etc are the ones *actually* entitled to use Dr. in self reference.
>
Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
"Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
Odd isn't it?
Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
they used to be barbers as well!!

***** S. G. Prowse - University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY *****

William Coyne

unread,
Apr 10, 1991, 3:32:27 AM4/10/91
to
lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:
>Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
>Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
>"Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
>Odd isn't it?
>Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
>they used to be barbers as well!!

I've wondered for a while, what are female surgeons called?
If they get a knighthood what are they called?
Dr Sir Jon Smith
Mr Sir Jon Smigh

Adam Hamilton

unread,
Apr 10, 1991, 4:35:06 AM4/10/91
to
In article <1991Apr9.1...@gdt.bath.ac.uk> lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:

:In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
:>
:>In fact many medical "Doctors" in the UK are only Dr. by curtosy and
:>should not use the title themselves either. Ph.Ds, (real) M.Ds or Ch.Ds
:>etc are the ones *actually* entitled to use Dr. in self reference.
:>
:Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
:Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
:"Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
:Odd isn't it?
:Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
:they used to be barbers as well!!
:

In my experience the situation described by Martin Baines is correct
and is carefully adhered to in hospitals. Medical and surgical physicians
alike are called Mister or Doctor according to their lack or possession
of the appropriate degree.

Martin Baines - Sun UK - SE Manager Cambridge/Gatwick

unread,
Apr 10, 1991, 12:50:40 PM4/10/91
to

In article <1991Apr9.1...@gdt.bath.ac.uk>, lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk

(S G Prowse) writes:
|> In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
|> >
|> >In fact many medical "Doctors" in the UK are only Dr. by curtosy and
|> >should not use the title themselves either. Ph.Ds, (real) M.Ds or Ch.Ds
|> >etc are the ones *actually* entitled to use Dr. in self reference.
|> >
|> Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
|> Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
|> "Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
|> Odd isn't it?

This can result in real fun. I know a couple for whom the
correct form of address is: Mr & Dr Hunt.

You guessed it: He's the Dr, *She's* the Mister.

|> Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
|> they used to be barbers as well!!

That I believe is how it came about. Before reliable annethesia (sp?)
Doctors (i.e. physicians) refused to consider surgoens *real* Doctors
as what they did was so barbaric. (Hence the word barber?)

apm...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au

unread,
Apr 11, 1991, 7:10:18 AM4/11/91
to
In article <1991Apr9.1...@gdt.bath.ac.uk>, lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:
> In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
>>
>>In fact many medical "Doctors" in the UK are only Dr. by curtosy and
>>should not use the title themselves either. Ph.Ds, (real) M.Ds or Ch.Ds
>>etc are the ones *actually* entitled to use Dr. in self reference.
>>
> Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
> Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
> "Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
> Odd isn't it?
> Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
> they used to be barbers as well!!

As far as I understand it this is in fact so. I read somewhere that it
started as a form of reversed snobbery: the physicians refused to consider
those blood splattered chirurgeons/barbers to be real doctors, so the surgeons
made a big play out of being _Mister_.

Betsy Perry

unread,
Apr 12, 1991, 1:27:00 PM4/12/91
to
>This is close to one of my pet peeves:
>
>I generally agree with Craig's views on not using titles, but what
>I *really* hate is people who call *themselves* Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms. These
>are *curtosy* titles and should not be used in self reference, only
>when addressing someone else. E.g. answering the phone "Hello Mr. X
>here" is wrong.

I agree that this is incorrect; however, it may be the only way to
defend yourself against chummy saleswomen. If you say "Hello, I'm
Elizabeth Perry, I called earlier about the dahlias", they're apt to
reply "Hi, Elizabeth!" rather than 'Hi, Ms. Perry". This is because
all the salesbooks emphasize the importance of first-naming the
customer often to make him/her feel warmly appreciated. Ick.

I actually grant the use of my second name to everybody I meet;
I just resent its appropriation by the total strangers who
call me at 9 P.M. to enquire why I'm letting my subscription to
*Flower and Garden* drop, and to complain that their computers
are down, so can they call me back later to discuss the matter?

This irritation is aggravated, in my case, by the fact that telephone
solicitors invariably get my name wrong.
Betsy Perry (note P in userid) bet...@apollo.hp.com
Apollo Division, Hewlett-Packard, Inc.
Say not the struggle naught availeth.

Michael Clase

unread,
Apr 12, 1991, 12:33:40 PM4/12/91
to

That should be "... according to their possession or lack ...".
Surgeons call themselves Mr. once they have obtained FRCS (Fellowship
of the Royal College of Surgeons). So junior surgeons are Doctor and
senior surgeons are Mister. Roughly, Consultants and Senior Registrars
will be Mr and House Officers and Registrars will be Dr.

Physicians (that's Internists over here, meaning those who practice
Internal Medicine (not to be confused with Internes, who are the North
American equivalents of House Officers)) are always Doctor.

Michael Clase, husband of Interne with British medical degree
mcl...@riemann.math.mun.ca

The Polymath

unread,
Apr 12, 1991, 10:18:49 PM4/12/91
to
In article <1991Apr9.1...@gdt.bath.ac.uk> lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:

}Actually, the situation is rather more complicated than this.
}Medical physicians in Britain are always referred to as
}"Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister".
}Odd isn't it?
}Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
}they used to be barbers as well!!

I always thought this was because surgeons did further study in their
specialty and obtained a higher degree (LLD?) thereby. Thus, referring to
them as "Doctor" is insulting because it implies a lesser degree of
education/expertise.

--
The Polymath (aka: Jerry Hollombe, M.A., CDP, aka: holl...@ttidca.tti.com)
Head Robot Wrangler at Citicorp Illegitimis non
3100 Ocean Park Blvd. (213) 450-9111, x2483 Carborundum
Santa Monica, CA 90405 {rutgers|pyramid|philabs|psivax}!ttidca!hollombe

Scott Horne

unread,
Apr 14, 1991, 5:33:51 AM4/14/91
to
In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM>, Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
<
<Before reliable annethesia (sp?)
<Doctors (i.e. physicians) refused to consider surgoens *real* Doctors
<as what they did was so barbaric. (Hence the word barber?)

No. `Barber' comes from the Latin for `beard'.

--Scott

--
Scott Horne ...!{harvard,cmcl2,decvax}!yale!horne
ho...@cs.Yale.edu SnailMail: Box 7196 Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520
203 436-1817 Residence: Rm 1817 Silliman College, Yale Univ
"Pi4 nai3 ren2 shen1 zhi1 qi4, qi3 you3 bu2 fang4 zhi1 li3." --Mao Zedong

Ray Dunn

unread,
Apr 15, 1991, 1:52:03 PM4/15/91
to
In referenced article, apm...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au writes:
>In other ref, lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:
>> "Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister"....

>> Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
>> they used to be barbers as well!!
>
> As far as I understand it this is in fact so. I read somewhere that it
>started as a form of reversed snobbery: the physicians refused to consider
>those blood splattered chirurgeons/barbers to be real doctors, so the
>surgeons made a big play out of being _Mister_.

...and I heard that because surgeons hack away at you etc, they cannot in
all true faith take the Hippocratic (sp?) oath, and thus don't (or can't)
call themselves Doctor.

Any truth in this I wonder?

Is there a doctor in the net?
--
Ray Dunn. | UUCP: r...@philmtl.philips.ca
Philips Electronics Ltd. | ..!{uunet|philapd|philabs}!philmtl!ray
600 Dr Frederik Philips Blvd | TEL : (514) 744-8987 (Phonemail)
St Laurent. Quebec. H4M 2S9 | FAX : (514) 744-9550 TLX: 05-824090

Barbara Hlavin

unread,
Apr 18, 1991, 5:06:57 PM4/18/91
to
In article <15...@west.West.Sun.COM> Martin...@UK.Sun.Com writes:
>
>
>This can result in real fun. I know a couple for whom the
>correct form of address is: Mr & Dr Hunt.
>
>You guessed it: He's the Dr, *She's* the Mister.
>
>|> Must be to do with the historical background of surgeons -
>|> they used to be barbers as well!!
>
>That I believe is how it came about. Before reliable annethesia (sp?)
>Doctors (i.e. physicians) refused to consider surgoens *real* Doctors
>as what they did was so barbaric. (Hence the word barber?)
>


A friend of mine married two days after she graduated from medical
school. She married her mathematics professor. They'd been SLQ
from the day she entered medical school, so by that time I knew
Bernie rather well, too. At the reception I was introducing him
to someone of our parents' generation whom I knew to put a great
deal of stock in titles, so I referred to Bernie as "Dr. Marcus."

Bernie shuffled his feet, and muttered, "Aw, Deborah is the *real*
doctor."

"Bernie," I said, "Peter Abelard was a doctor of philosophy when
Deborah's predecessors were following the haircut with an
application of leeches to the scalp. If anyone is entitled by
historical precedent to claim legitimacy to the title of "Dr.",
it's you."

The "barb" in barber comes from the Latin for "beard." "Barbarian"
means a stranger, or someone from a foreign country.

If anyone should know, it's --

Barbara
(not bearded)


it's you."
--
Barbara Hlavin Death has always been a negative life style
tw...@milton.u.washington.edu change nobody thought could be sold, but I
differ.

Barbara Hlavin

unread,
Apr 18, 1991, 4:53:54 PM4/18/91
to
In article <95...@castle.ed.ac.uk> Julian Bradfield <j...@lfcs.ed.ac.uk> writes:
>
>Another peeve is the automatic assumption by almost everybody that
>anybody whose address includes the word "University" must be a doctor.
>(Let alone the "Professor"s we get from the other side of the
>Atlantic.)


When I was a student in the Philosophy Department of the University
of Washington in Seattle, all the full professors insisted on being
addressed as "Mr." [Um, yes, right; there were no women who were
full professors. Or assistant professors. I *did* once have a
woman TA.]

Then I spent six months working in the department of Genetics. All
the Ph.D.s, without exception, were affronted if you did not address
them as "Dr."


--Barbara

Barbara Hlavin

unread,
Apr 18, 1991, 5:17:24 PM4/18/91
to
In article <50eeb11...@apollo.HP.COM> bet...@apollo.HP.COM (Betsy Perry) writes:

[Reference to inappropriateness of referring to oneself by honorific,
such as answering a phone by saying, "This is Ms. Hlavin."]


>
>I agree that this is incorrect; however, it may be the only way to
>defend yourself against chummy saleswomen. If you say "Hello, I'm
>Elizabeth Perry, I called earlier about the dahlias", they're apt to
>reply "Hi, Elizabeth!" rather than 'Hi, Ms. Perry".


Are you sure they don't say cheerily, "How ya doin', Liz?" I once
talked to a salesman about buying a horrendously expensive piece
of equipment for a lab. He went from "Barbara" to "Barb" in about
two seconds flat, and when I said frostily [wrong metaphor; I was
burned up], "I'd appreciate it if you'd address me as Ms. Hlavin,"
he made it obvious that he was miffed.

This is because
>all the salesbooks emphasize the importance of first-naming the
>customer often to make him/her feel warmly appreciated. Ick.

>


>This irritation is aggravated, in my case, by the fact that telephone
>solicitors invariably get my name wrong.

Why, it doesn't matter, does it? The WARMTH is what counts.
What's in a name, Betsy?


>Betsy Perry (note P in userid) bet...@apollo.hp.com
>Apollo Division, Hewlett-Packard, Inc.
>Say not the struggle naught availeth.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Well, OK... but sometimes I get reeeallly tired of defending myself
from the slings and arrows of Babs and Barbs and Barbies coming at
me from all directions...

Francis Muir

unread,
Apr 19, 1991, 11:59:25 AM4/19/91
to
Barbara Hlavin writes:

Why, it doesn't matter, does it? The WARMTH is what counts.
What's in a name, Betsy?

I recall a warm "Baba" being met with a bucket of cold water ...

fido

Robert Evans

unread,
Apr 19, 1991, 11:52:24 AM4/19/91
to
In article <18...@philmtl.philips.ca> r...@philmtl.philips.ca (Ray Dunn) writes:
>In referenced article, apm...@vaxc.cc.monash.edu.au writes:
>>In other ref, lis...@gdt.bath.ac.uk (S G Prowse) writes:
> >> "Doctor" whilst surgeons are by convention called "Mister"....
> > As far as I understand it this is in fact so. I read somewhere that it
> >started as a form of reversed snobbery: the physicians refused to consider
> >those blood splattered chirurgeons/barbers to be real doctors, so the
> >surgeons made a big play out of being _Mister_.
>...and I heard that because surgeons hack away at you etc, they cannot in
>all true faith take the Hippocratic (sp?) oath, and thus don't (or can't)
>call themselves Doctor.
>Any truth in this I wonder?

In the UK the term "doctor" for medics is honorary, most are Bachelors
of Medicine (MB) not MDs. Surgeons would go on after taking their MB to take
a Master's degree in Surgery. Hence they were "Masters". The title "Mister"
is a corruption of that. Better to be an earned Master than an honorary Doctor.
It isn't a matter for the law unless some fraud or misrepresentation is
intended. They don't really take the Hippocratic oath, do they?
--
Robert Evans, Dept of Computing Maths, University of Wales College of Cardiff,
PO Box 916, Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF2 4YN. Tel: +44 (0)222 874000 x 5518
Internet: R.Evans%computing-math...@nsfnet-relay.ac.uk
UUCP: R.E...@cf-cm.UUCP or ...!uunet!mcsun!ukc!cf-cm!R.Evans
Janet: R.E...@uk.ac.cardiff.computing-maths

Roadster Racewerks

unread,
Apr 19, 1991, 6:51:02 PM4/19/91
to

The title of this thread leads me to ask an unrelated question...

On rec.org.sca we were discussing the (rare) occasion where one might want to
decline a profered peerage, ie "title" in our medieval recreations. I know that
in modern British society one can refuse or renounce a peerage (how?) but was
it ever done in the Middle Ages or Renaissance? Without being considered
treason? How...what form would it have taken...I assume it would usually have
been done in private, for reasons of diplomacy?

Suze Hammond (medievally known as Elaine NicMaoilan, commoner)

tri...@agora.rain.com

Barbara Hlavin

unread,
Apr 22, 1991, 5:50:05 PM4/22/91
to


Actually, I believe I promised to have you kneecapped by hired thugs.
Feeling a bit of a grouch that day...


Betsy knows I spoke in mockery; we've discussed before how we dislike
our names being tampered with. Someone named Elizabeth may choose to
be called Betsy but detest Bess or Liz; a Barbara may have reasons
to dislike Babs or Barbie; a Francis may not care to be addressed as
Frank or Fran.

Warmly, but not heatedly --

Thomas Maurer

unread,
Apr 23, 1991, 10:09:28 AM4/23/91
to
In article <1991Apr18.2...@milton.u.washington.edu> tw...@milton.u.washington.edu (Barbara Hlavin) writes:
>>
>>That I believe is how it came about. Before reliable annethesia (sp?)
>>Doctors (i.e. physicians) refused to consider surgoens *real* Doctors
>>as what they did was so barbaric. (Hence the word barber?)
>>
>
>The "barb" in barber comes from the Latin for "beard." "Barbarian"
>means a stranger, or someone from a foreign country.
>
>If anyone should know, it's --
>
>Barbara
>(not bearded)

"barbaric" etc. comes from ancient greek. "ho barbaros" is a Persian (!)
The Persian language sounded to the Greek like "barbarbarbar". Just as
Swiss German sounds to English speaking people with the only difference
that this time the barbarians are those who hear "barbarbar..." :-)

Thomas

/\ Thomas Maurer
/\^/\/ /\ GREETINGS FROM SWITZERLAND TL-DEB
/\^/ V VwV V Zellweger Uster AG
____________________________________________ 8610 Uster / Zurich SWITZERLAND
Followups to soc.culture.swiss.yodel NET: ma...@zellweger.ch

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages