Don (honorific)

Honorific title used in Iberia, the Hispanic world, Lusophone countries and Italy

Today in the Spanish language, Doña is used to respectfully refer to a mature woman. Today in the Americas, the title Don or Doña is sometimes used in honorific form when addressing a senior citizen. In some countries, Don or Doña may be used as a generic honorific, similar to Sir and Madam in the United States.

In practice, however, the style Don/Donna (or Latin Dominus/Domina) was used more loosely in church, civil and notarial records. The honorific was often accorded to the untitled gentry (e.g., knights or younger sons of noblemen), priests, or other people of distinction. It was, over time, adopted by organized criminal societies in Southern Italy (including Naples, Sicily, and Calabria) to refer to members who held considerable sway within their hierarchies.

Priests are the only ones to be referred as "Don Lastname", although when talking directly to them they are usually addressed as "Don Firstname", which is also the most common form used by parishioners when referring to their priest.