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[mag-duh-leen, -luh n, mag-duh-lee-nee]
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  1. the. Mary Magdalene.
  2. (lowercase) a reformed prostitute.
  3. Also Mag·da·len [mag-duh-luh n] /ˈmæg də lən/. a female given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “woman of Magdala.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for magdalen

Historical Examples

  • You, at all events, my Olivia, can never become a Carmelite or a Magdalen.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • He completed his education at Queen's and Magdalen colleges, Oxford.

  • He had painted a Magdalen, which was really wonderfully beautiful.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • In the middle of Magdalen Bridge we met a woman with a child in her arms.


    Andrew Lang

  • Fellowships were then sold, at Magdalen and New, when they were not given by favour.


    Andrew Lang

British Dictionary definitions for magdalen


magdalene (ˈmæɡdəˌliːn, ˌmæɡdəˈliːnɪ)

  1. literary a reformed prostitute
  2. rare a reformatory for prostitutes

Word Origin

from Mary Magdalene


  1. See Mary Magdalene
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 magdalen


"reformed prostitute," 1690s, so called for Mary Magdalene, disciple of Christ (Luke viii:2), who often is identified with the penitent woman in Luke vii:37-50. See Magdalene.


fem. proper name, from Latin (Maria) Magdalena, from Greek Magdalene, literally "woman of Magdala," from Aramaic Maghdela, place on the Sea of Galilee, literally "tower." The vernacular form of the name, via French, has come to English as maudlin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper