a heroine of a fairy tale or folk tale who is maltreated by a malevolent stepmother but achieves happiness and marries a prince through the benevolent intervention of a fairy godmother.
(italics) the tale itself, the earliest version of which is in Chinese and dates from the 9th century a.d.
(italics) a ballet (1945) with musical score by Sergei Prokofiev.
a person or thing of merit, undeservedly neglected or forced into a wretched or obscure existence.
a person or thing that achieves unexpected or sudden success or recognition, especially after obscurity, neglect, or misery (often used attributively): Which team will find themselves the Cinderella of this year’s college basketball season?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use Cinderella in a sentence
While you are poring over your bracket trying to figure out who is this year’s Cinderella or national champion, don’t forget to take into account the impact a coach can have on his team’s tournament outcome.3 NCAA tournament coaches to trust in your bracket, and 3 to avoid | Neil Greenberg | March 18, 2021 | Washington Post
Nothing is more coveted during March Madness than correctly predicting a Cinderella team, identifying a rags-to-riches bunch that not only gives you bragging rights for your savvy but also puts you in position to leap ahead in your pool.
The master of the Cinderella run, at least in Hall of Fame circles, is Boeheim.Hall Of Fame Coaches Could Be The Giant-Killers This Year | Jake Lourim | March 16, 2021 | FiveThirtyEight
If we expect some degree of mean reversion, then chances are that both these teams are once more well-positioned to make deep runs in this year’s playoffs, perhaps thwarting a historical Cinderella’s shot at the ball.Ringless NBA Teams Should Love Their Chances This Season | Santul Nerkar (email@example.com) | March 15, 2021 | FiveThirtyEight
The 2017-18 Ramblers were the quintessential March Madness Cinderella story.Remember Loyola? This Team Is Even Better Than The One That Made The Final Four. | Jake Lourim | February 10, 2021 | FiveThirtyEight
It was a Cinderella story, being discovered at a sporting event.World Cup Fan Axelle Despiegelaere Already Dropped From L’Oreal; Forever 21 Fired Chrissy Teigan For Being "Fat" | The Fashion Beast Team | July 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
If you want Cinderella to become the empress of the world...The March Madness Teams to Cheer If Yours Got Bounced | Ben Teitelbaum | March 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The characters were more like Snow White, or Cinderella, or the Power Puff Girls, and I had to wear a big head with a chinstrap.Alison Brie on ‘Community’s’ New Beginning, Dan Harmon’s Return, Nicolas Cage, and More | Marlow Stern | January 3, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and Orange Is the New Black has a prison full of them.Danielle Brooks, Taystee on ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ Is the Breakout Star of the Year | Kevin Fallon | December 11, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
In Western schools, students are encouraged to speak their minds after reading stories like “Cinderella.”China’s Schools Teaches Kids to Take Tests, Obey the State, and Not Much More | Junheng Li | November 30, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
I have foolishly undertaken to write music for a ballet Cinderella, at a very small fee.The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky | Modeste Tchaikovsky
Its all settledsplendidly settledand Im as happy as Cinderella when she found the Prince!Tessa Wadsworth's Discipline | Jennie M. Drinkwater
A coach and four, a Cinderella coach, would be the 28 only suitable equipage in which to make this journey into fairyland.Italian Days and Ways | Anne Hollingsworth Wharton
"There's no character hin all the world as I hadmires like Cinderella," said Sue.Sue, A Little Heroine | L. T. Meade
"Sit down, Cinderella, and keep yourself quiet," cried Pickles.Sue, A Little Heroine | L. T. Meade
British Dictionary definitions for Cinderella
a girl who achieves fame after being obscure
a poor, neglected, or unsuccessful person or thing
(as modifier): a Cinderella service within the NHS
(modifier) relating to dramatic success: a Cinderella story
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
Cultural definitions for “Cinderella”
A fairy tale from the collection of Charles Perrault. Cinderella, a young girl, is forced by her stepmother and stepsisters to do heavy housework and relaxes by sitting among the cinders by the fireplace. One evening, when the prince of the kingdom is holding a ball, Cinderella's fairy godmother visits her, magically dresses her for the ball, turns a pumpkin into a magnificent carriage for her, warns her not to stay past midnight, and sends her off. Cinderella captivates the prince at the ball but leaves just as midnight is striking, and in her haste she drops a slipper; as the story is usually told in English, the slipper is made of glass. She returns home with her fine clothes turned back into rags and her carriage a pumpkin again. The prince searches throughout the kingdom for the owner of the slipper. Cinderella is the only one whom it fits, and the prince marries her.
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.