[ deym ]
/ deɪm /


Origin of dame

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin domina, feminine of dominus lord, master

Usage note

Dame is sometimes perceived as insulting when used to refer generally to a woman, unless it is a woman of rank or advanced age.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dame

British Dictionary definitions for dame (1 of 2)


/ (deɪm) /


(formerly) a woman of rank or dignity; lady
a nun who has taken the vows of her order, esp a Benedictine
archaic, mainly British a matronly or elderly woman
slang, mainly US and Canadian a woman
Also called: pantomime dame British the role of a comic old woman in a pantomime, usually played by a man

Word Origin for dame

C13: from Old French, from Latin domina lady, mistress of a household

British Dictionary definitions for dame (2 of 2)


/ (deɪm) /

noun (in Britain)

the title of a woman who has been awarded the Order of the British Empire or any of certain other orders of chivalry
the legal title of the wife or widow of a knight or baronet, placed before her nameDame Judith Compare 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

Word Origin and History for dame



early 13c., from Old French dame "lady, mistress, wife," from Late Latin domna, from Latin domina "lady, mistress of the house," from Latin domus "house" (see domestic). Legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet. Slang sense of "woman" first attested 1902 in American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper