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Blend of celebrity +‎ debutante. Reportedly coined by Walter Winchell in 1939.


celebutante (plural celebutantes)

  1. A young, usually female socialite, especially one of limited accomplishment, who is the focus of sufficient media attention and public interest to be regarded as a celebrity.
    • 1986 November 9, Dowd, Maureen, “Lisa in Wonderland: Creating her own celebrity”, in New York Times, sec. 6, page 32:
      Lisa Edelstein, a nice girl from a New Jersey suburb, is explaining how she got to be Lisa E., New York's reigning Queen of the Night, Girl of the Moment, new Edie Sedgwick and top "celebutante" of 1986. "Being a celebutante means you're famous for not really doing anything," the 20-year-old says. "You just try to get to know as many people as you can, so that you know everybody."
    • 2007 May 24, Coen, Jessica, “A media Frankenstein”, in Mail & Guardian Online[1], South Africa:
      Paris Hilton, the United States’s first name in famous-for-being-famous, got her come-uppance. . . . Her ubiquitous nightlife presence, perceived aura of fabulousness and inane conduct made her a tabloid fixture, and she is perhaps our first celebutante, someone who does nothing but exist.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:celebutante.