From Middle English dame, dam (“noble lady”), from Old French dame (“lady; term of address for a woman; the queen in card games and chess”), from Latin domina (“mistress of the house”), feminine form of dominus (“lord, master, ruler; owner of a residence”), or from Latin domus (“home, house”). Doublet of domina and donna.
dame (plural dames)
- (Britain) Usually capitalized as Dame: a title equivalent to Sir for a female knight.
- Dame Edith Sitwell
- (Britain) A matron at a school, especially Eton College.
- 2005, Paul Shrimpton, “Darnell’s School”, in A Catholic Eton?: Newman’s Oratory School, Leominster, Herefordshire: Gracewing, →ISBN, page 88:
- Even though the dames’ houses were being gradually phased out at Eton, [John Henry] Newman was enthusiastic about the arrangement since it met one of the promoters’ key demands; besides, he had experienced something similar as a boy at Ealing School, where the boarding houses were also under the jurisdiction of dames. The Ealing dames ensured that boys were properly dressed and cared for them when sick, and they also ran the tuck shops.
- 2016, David Noy, “Parents, Childhood, Youth (1739–1760)”, in Dr Johnson’s Friend and Robert Adam’s Client Topham Beauclerk, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, →ISBN, page 14:
- As he [Fréderic Guyaz] worked for Topham [Beauclerk] while he was at Eton, it is likely that Topham was a day-boarder there, living at home in Windsor. His Eton "dame" was Mrs. Bland; day-boarders were allocated to a dame at whose house they took their meals.
- (Britain, theater) In traditional pantomime: a melodramatic female often played by a man in drag.
- 1870 January 29, “English Pantomime. In Two Parts.—Part II.”, in William, Robert Chambers, editors, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Art, volume VII (Fourth Series), number 318, London, Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers, →OCLC, chapter X, pages 73 and 74:
- [page 73, column 2] Mother Goose was produced on the 29th of December; Simmons playing the Old Dame; […] [page 74, column 1] Bugle condemns her to the ducking-stool, a sentence opposed by Colin, who espouses the cause of the Old Dame, who, escaping from her persecutors, puts an end to the wedding festivities by raising the ghost of the Squire's first wife.
- 2013, Maureen Hughes, “Welcome to the Magical World of Pantomime”, in A History of Pantomime, Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword History, →ISBN, page 34:
- The Dame in a Panto is generally a large, gregarious and out-going man who plays the part of a large, gregarious and out-going woman. […] Every successful actor who plays the part of Dame in Panto knows that the secret of his success is that it should be obvious that it is a man playing a part, for this is not a Drag act; the intention is not to be as womanly as possible, but always to be 'a feller in a frock'. […] Oh how everyone loves the Panto Dame for she is Panto.
- (US, dated, informal, slightly derogatory) A woman.
- 1949, Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics), Richard Rodgers (music), “There Is Nothing Like a Dame”, in South Pacific; published in Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics), Oscar Hammerstein II, Joshua Logan (book), Albert Sirmay [i.e., Albert Szirmai] (vocal score editor), South Pacific. A Musical Play. [...] Adapted from James A. Michener’s [...] Tales of the South Pacific [...], New York, N.Y.: Williamson Music; Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard, 1949, →OCLC, page 30:
- There is nothin' like a dame / Nothin' in the world. / There is nothin' you can name / That is anythin' like a dame.
- (archaic) A lady, a woman.
- 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: […]”, in The Rocke of Regard, […], London: […] [H. Middleton] for Robert Waley, →OCLC; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, […] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], →OCLC, page 55:
- Now, thou, deare dame, that workſte theſe ſweete effectes in mee, / Vouchsafe my zeale, that onely ſeeke to ſerve and honour thee.
- a. 1638, Ben Jonson, “The Twelvth Night’s Revells”, in Peter Cunningham, edited by David Laing, Inigo Jones and Ben Jonson: Being the Life of Inigo Jones. […], London: Printed for the Shakespeare Society, […], published 1853, →OCLC, page 101:
- [T]hough they were first-form'd dames of Earth, / And in whose sparcklinge and refulgent eyes / The glorious sonne did still delight to rise; […]
- 1684, Edward Ravenscroft, Dame Dobson: Or, The Cunning Woman. A Comedy as it is Acted at the Duke’s Theatre, London: Printed for Joseph Hindmarsh, […], →OCLC, act I, scene xi, page 25:
- And do you think my Dame Dobſon don't know a little better than you? She tells you, you need ſay no more, and 'tis an affront to her Art not to believe her; and I'le not ſee my Dame affronted.
- 1835 April, [Nathaniel Hawthorne], “Young Goodman Brown”, in The New-England Magazine, volume VIII, Boston, Mass.: E. R. Broaders, […], →OCLC, page 252:
- [H]e pointed his staff at a female figure on the path, in whom goodman Brown recognized a very pious and exemplary dame, who had taught him his catechism, in youth, and was still his moral and spiritual adviser, jointly with the minister and deacon Gookin.
- 1849, Wolfgang Menzel, “First Period. Heathen Antiquity.”, in Mrs. George Horrocks, transl., The History of Germany, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. [...] Translated from the Fourth German Edition. [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Henry G[eorge] Bohn, […], →OCLC, part I (Origin and Manners of the Ancient Germans), section XX (Wolen and Walkyren), page 45:
- The poetical relation between the pagan warrior and his celestial bride changed, in course of time, to that between the Christian knight and his ladye-bright, who also was not always an earthly dame, but the holy Virgin or some saint.
- (chess, slang) A queen.
- See Thesaurus:woman
- To make a dame.
- 1805, Richard Twiss, “On Draughts”, in Miscellanies, volume II, London: […], page 162:
- The French call simply Pawn, “la Dame qui n’est point Damée, et l’on n’appelle Dame proprement dite, que le Pion qui est Damé, et couvert d’un autre Pion,” which means “the Draught or Pawn which is not damed, and which is only termed Dame or Queen, when the Pawn which is damed, is covered with another Pawn.”
- 1995, H. Paul Jeffers, A Grand Night For Murder:
- Jonathan’s first edition of Calais was signed by Dame Agatha [Christie]. Not as Dame Agatha, just plain Agatha. She got Damed later.
- 1995, Mediaweek, page C-8:
- […] Joanna Lumley, both pros in their respective fields, and both Brits in their respective hearts, are now both newly knighted (damed, in Lumley’s case) by England’s Queen Lizzy.
- 2013, Tracy Farr, Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, Fremantle Press:
- And then, of course, there was the dame-ing. It didn’t take much to be made a dame in the ’70s.
- (polite) lady, woman (adult female)
- lady (adult female with a cultivated appearance)
- (informal) girlfriend
- (card games) queen
- damet (“ladyish, ladylike”)
|Playing cards in Danish · kort, spillekort (layout · text)|
|otter||nier||tier||knægt, bonde||dame, dronning||konge||joker|
- (chess, card games) queen
- Synonym: koningin
- The nonstandard plural damesch is occasionally encountered in archaising contexts, particularly in sororities. This spelling, however, is an unetymological faux-archaism, as the plural marker -s was historically never spelled -sch.
- Afrikaans: dame
|Chess pieces in Dutch · schaakstukken (schaak + stukken) (layout · text)|
|koning||koningin, dame||toren||loper, bisschop, raadsheer||paard||pion|
dame f (plural dames)
Occasionally, in very formal or official registers, dame can be used as a title with a woman's name, for example dame Jeanne Dupont. Normal usage would be Madame Jeanne Dupont.
- → Catalan: dama
- → Friulian: dame
- → Galician: dama
- → German: Dame
- → Italian: dama
- → Polish: dama
- → Portuguese: dama
- → Romanian: damă
- → Spanish: dama
|Chess pieces in French · pièces d’échecs (layout · text)|
|Playing cards in French · cartes à jouer (layout · text)|
- “dame”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
- plural of
dame (plural dames)
- lady (high-ranking or noble woman):
- A housewife (mistress of a family)
- A mother (of humans, animals, or plants)
- A term of address for a noble lady.
- A respectful term of address for any woman (sometimes sarcastic).
- Alternative form of
- Alternative form of
- (when preceding labials) Alternative form of
- Alternative form of
- “dame” in The Bokmål Dictionary.
- “dame” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.
- Bourguignon: daime
- Franc-Comtois: daime
- → Italian: dama
- Lorrain: daime
- → Middle English: dame, damme, dam
- Middle French: dame
- Norman: dame
- → Norwegian Bokmål: dame
- → Norwegian Nynorsk: dame
- Picard: danme