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Madonna

[muh-don-uh]
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noun
  1. the Virgin Mary (usually preceded by the).
  2. a picture or statue representing the Virgin Mary.
  3. (lowercase) Archaic. an Italian title of formal address to a woman.
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Origin of Madonna

1575–85; < Italian: my lady
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for madonna

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Could the Madonna, who was so maternal, desire the woe of lovers?

  • She was a widow before she was a mother; may the Madonna comfort her.'

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Some Madonna, they'll say; the very picture of the mother of God herself!

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Arrived there, Madonna Paola took affairs into her own hands.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "My quarrel is with their looks, Madonna, not their garments," I answered patiently.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for madonna

Madonna1

noun
  1. mainly RC Church a designation of the Virgin Mary
  2. (sometimes not capital) a picture or statue of the Virgin Mary
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Word Origin

C16: Italian, from ma my + donna lady

Madonna2

noun
  1. full name Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. born 1958, US rock singer and film actress. Her records include "Like a Virgin" (1985), "Like a Prayer" (1989), Ray of Light (1998), Music (2000), and MDNA (2012). Her films include Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and Evita (1996)
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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

Word Origin and History for madonna

n.

1580s, "Italian lady," from Italian madonna, from Old Italian ma donna (Italian mia donna) "my lady," from ma "my" + donna "lady," from Latin domina (see dame). Sense of "picture or statue of the Virgin Mary" is from 1640s. The U.S. singer/dancer (full name Madonna Louise Ciccone, b.1958) attained to pop stardom in fall 1984.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

madonna in Culture

Madonna

A work of art depicting Mary, the mother of Jesus, especially one that shows her holding the infant Jesus; also a term for Mary herself. Madonna is Italian for “my lady.”

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Madonna

An American pop singer known for her many incarnations, ranging from an early “Material Girl” to a movie star (Evita) to a mother and wife. Many consider Madonna a promotional genius for her ability to reinvent herself.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.