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Old French[edit]


First attested in the 10th century as pulcella, from Vulgar Latin *pūllicella, of disputed origin. Possibly a diminutive of Latin pullus (young of animals, chick), or pullus as a contraction of *purulus, from purus (pure). Alternatively from Latin puella (girl) through a Vulgar Latin root *puellicella.


pucele f (oblique plural puceles, nominative singular pucele, nominative plural puceles)

  1. a young, unmarried woman
    • 12th or 13th century, Marie de France, Lanval:
      Le chevaler avant ala, e la pucele l'apela
      The knight went onwards, and the young girl called to him
  2. (by extension) a virgin