AskDefine | Define congresswoman

Dictionary Definition

congresswoman n : a member of the United States House of Representatives [syn: congressman, representative]

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English

Noun

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Extensive Definition

A Member of Congress is a politician who is a member of a Congress. In countries with a parliament rather than a congress, MP (Member of Parliament) is used instead; however, this can be adapted (see below).

Bicameral legislature

Since the United States national legislature is bicameral, there are three different titles for legislators: Senator (Member of the United States Senate), Representative (Member of the House of Representatives) or Congressman/Congresswoman (commonly meaning an individual member of the House of Representatives, synonymous with "Representative").
It is important to note that although it is technically a term for members of either house, "Congressman/woman" is used almost exclusively to refer to members of the House in the United States in formal address. Indeed, it would likely be considered a faux pas to refer to a member of the United States Senate as "Congressman/Congresswoman" instead of Senator.

Member of Congress

A title gaining more and more prominence is that of Member of Congress. The title is now used regularly to describe congressmen, and generally appears as a postscript to the congressman's name. The term has also gained prominence in educational circles, with American political scientists, in a further effort to clarify the issue, using the term "Member of Congress" (MC), to refer to members of both houses, and use Senator and Representative when referring to members of either specific chamber. "Congressman/woman" is used occasionally but has the disadvantage of needing to be modified depending on gender. Member of Congress, Senator, and Representative all have the advantage of being gender neutral. Additionally, the specificity of these terms helps people in countries with Parliaments understand the titles in the United States.
congresswoman in Japanese: 議員
congresswoman in Chinese: 议员
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