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demimonde

[dem-ee-mond; French duh-mee-mawnd]
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noun
  1. (especially during the last half of the 19th century) a class of women who have lost their standing in respectable society because of indiscreet behavior or sexual promiscuity.
  2. a demimondaine.
  3. prostitutes or courtesans in general.
  4. a group whose activities are ethically or legally questionable: a demimonde of investigative journalists writing for the sensationalist tabloids.
  5. a group characterized by lack of success or status: the literary demimonde.

Origin of demimonde

1850–55; < French, equivalent to demi- demi- + monde world (< Latin mundus)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demimonde

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I have frequently heard women of the demimonde referred to as dangerous women.

  • She said in French—she is weak in French—that she had been spending a Sunday afternoon in a gathering of the "demimonde."

  • At the opposite end of the social scale were the quadroons—the demimonde of this little capital—and the negro slaves.

  • These we should now rank among the demimonde, but the Greek point of view was different from ours.

    Woman in Science

    John Augustine Zahm


British Dictionary definitions for demimonde

demimonde

noun
  1. (esp in the 19th century) those women considered to be outside respectable society, esp on account of sexual promiscuity
  2. any social group considered to be not wholly respectable

Word Origin

C19: from French, literally: half-world
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012