[kol-een, ko-leen]


an Irish girl.

Origin of colleen

1820–30; < Irish cailín, equivalent to caile girl, wench + -ín diminutive suffix


[kol-een, ko-leen]


a female given name: from an Irish word meaning “girl.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for colleen

maid, maiden, damsel, female, girl, miss, missy, lassie, woman, virgin, lass, lady

Examples from the Web for colleen

Contemporary Examples of colleen

Historical Examples of colleen

  • If we're dressing you as an Irish colleen, Mary Ellen, we'll do it properly.

    General John Regan

    George A. Birmingham

  • Tobin advertised in the papers, but nothing could be found of the colleen.

  • Bodagh, you have no nather in you—no bowels for your colleen dahs.

    Fardorougha, The Miser

    William Carleton

  • Woman, there's a fortin' in ivery wurrd this colleen shpakes!

    Toto's Merry Winter

    Laura E. Richards

  • So the colleen left her, and came back, crying and frighted.

    Wild Wales

    George Borrow

British Dictionary definitions for colleen



an Irish word for girl
an Irish girl

Word Origin for colleen

C19: from Irish Gaelic cailín a girl, a young unmarried woman
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 colleen


fem. proper name, from Irish cailin "girl," diminutive of caile "girl, woman."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper