pucelle (plural pucelles)
- (archaic) A girl, a maiden; a virgin (often with reference to Joan of Arc).
1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: Enprynted and fynysshed in thabbey Westmestre [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur by Syr Thomas Malory; the Original Edition of William Caxton Now Reprinted and Edited with an Introduction and Glossary by H. Oskar Sommer, Ph.D.; with an Essay on Malory’s Prose Style by Andrew Lang, London: Published by David Nutt, in the Strand, 1889, OCLC 890162034:, Book VII, Ch.xij:
- ‘Be ye a pusell or a wyff?’ ‘Sir,’ she seyde, ‘I am a clene maydyn.’
- Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
- Lady or pucelle, that wears mask or fan.
- 1976, Robert Nye, Falstaff:
- Seven weeks before, Joan of Arc had ridden into Orleans. She was at the height of her strange career.…‘Maid or Witch, Pucelle or Puzzell – she is very hard to understand.’
- (obsolete) A prostitute, a slut.
Middle French pucelle < Old French pucele, 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.
- la Pucelle d'Orléans: the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc