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beldame (plural beldames)
- (obsolete) A grandmother.
- c. 1597 (date written), [William Shakespeare], The History of Henrie the Fourth; […], quarto edition, London: […] P[eter] S[hort] for Andrew Wise, […], published 1598, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
- Diſeaſed nature oftentimes breakes forth, / In ſtrange eruptions, oft the teeming earth / Is with a kind of collicke pincht and vext, / By the impriſoning of vnruly wind / Within her vvombe, vvhich for enlargement ſtriuing / Shakes the old Beldame earth, and topples down / Steeples and moſſegrovvn towers.
- (now archaic) An old woman, particularly an ugly one.
- 1777, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The School for Scandal, IV.i:
- Justice is an old hobbling beldame, and I can't get her to keep pace with Generosity, for the soul of me.
- 1847, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre:
- ... have a curiosity to hear my fortune told: therefore, Sam, order the beldame forward.
- 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 25:
- The tablets upon which the events of the day were recorded refer to enchantresses, and we can conclude that they were by no means restricted to ancient beldames.
- 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin, published 2006, page 6:
- Suddenly the beldam shrieks as if she's been stuck with a dagger, long rasping insuck of breath: ‘Eeeeeeeee!’
- “beldame”, in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
- “beldame”, in Collins English Dictionary.