prima donna

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Italian prima donna (first lady).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

prima donna (plural prima donnas or prime donne or (nonstandard) primae donnae)

  1. (opera) The principal female singer or the leading lady.
    • 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Romance and Reality. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, [], OCLC 24531354, pages 255–256:
      The truth is, the inhabitants of that languid and luxurious city wanted some little variety; and the minister ... supported a favourite actress in the range of first-rate characters in the Opera—supported her against the united musical opinion of Naples. One night she sang worse than ever; and the next morning half the city rose up, demanding liberty and a new prima donna.
  2. (derogatory) A person who considers himself or herself much more important than others, has high expectations of others and becomes angry when his or her standards or demands are not met.
    Synonym: diva
    • 1971, John Lennon (lyrics and music), “Gimme Some Truth”, in Imagine:
      I've had enough of watching scenes / With schizophrenic, egocentric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
    • 2018 January 1, Donald McRae, “The Guardian footballer of the year 2017: Juan Mata”, in the Guardian[1]:
      This year Mata has done more than anyone to give fresh belief that professional football is not only built on greed and staggering wages for its strutting prima donnas. The Manchester United and Spain midfielder, instead, has broken new ground and begun to use football’s power and wealth to help ordinary people around the world.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

prima donna f (plural prime donne)

  1. (music) prima donna

Portuguese[edit]

Noun[edit]

prima donna f (plural prima donnas or primas donnas)

  1. Alternative spelling of prima-dona