Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know

prima donna

[pree-muh don-uh, prim-uh; Italian pree-mah dawn-nah] /ˌpri mə ˈdɒn ə, ˌprɪm ə; Italian ˈpri mɑ ˈdɔn nɑ/
noun, plural prima donnas Italian, prime donne
[pree-me dawn-ne] /ˈpri mɛ ˈdɔn nɛ/ (Show IPA)
a first or principal female singer of an opera company.
a temperamental person; a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.
Origin of prima donna
1760-70; < Italian: literally, first lady; see prime, duenna Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for prima donna
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for prima donna

prima donna

/ˈpriːmə ˈdɒnə/
noun (pl) prima donnas
a female operatic star; diva
(informal) a temperamental person
Word Origin
C19: from Italian: first lady
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for prima donna

1782, "principal female singer in an opera," from Italian prima donna "first lady," from Latin prima, fem. of primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + domina "lady" (see dame). Meaning "temperamental person" first recorded 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
prima donna in Culture
prima donna [(pree-muh, prim-uh don-uh)]

A vain and overly sensitive person who is temperamental and difficult to work with: “That Jenkins girl is a good gymnast, but she certainly is a prima donna.” In opera, the prima donna is the principal female soloist. From Italian, meaning “first lady.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for prima donna

prima donna

noun phrase

A person of great and touchy self-esteem; a person who requires to be the sole focus of adulatory attention and who indulges in temperamental displays

[1936+; fr Italian, literally ''first lady,'' a title for superstar opera singers and the like]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for prima donna

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for prima

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for prima donna