1447, abbreviation of master (q.v.). Used from 1814 with a following noun or adj., to denote "the exemplar or embodiment of that quality" (e.g. Mr. Right, 1922, first in James Joyce; Mr. Fix-It, 1925, first in Ring Lardner; Mr. Big, 1940, first in Groucho Marx). The pl. Messrs. (1779) is an abbreviation of Fr. messieurs, pl. of monsieur, used in Eng. to supply the pl. of Mr., which is lacking.