[dam-zuh l]

noun Literary.

a young woman or girl; a maiden, originally one of gentle or noble birth.

Origin of damsel

1150–1200; Middle English damisel < Anglo-French (Old French damoisele) < Vulgar Latin *dominicella, equivalent to Latin domin(a) lady (see dame) + -i- -i- + -cella feminine diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for damsel

woman, miss, virgin, lass, lady, lassie, colleen

Examples from the Web for damsel

Contemporary Examples of damsel

Historical Examples of damsel

  • Surely, sir, you should take shame to hold the damsel against her will.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • I scrutinised him carefully, while Charlotte ran to comfort the damsel.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • There may be more than one claimant for the damsel's affection.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • Already I have endured more than enough in the interests of this damsel.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • His face was comely as a damsel's, his eyes blue and his hair golden.


    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for damsel



archaic, or poetic a young unmarried woman; maiden

Word Origin for damsel

C13: from Old French damoisele, from Vulgar Latin domnicella (unattested) young lady, from Latin domina mistress; see dame
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 damsel

late 12c., from Old French dameisele "woman of noble birth" (Modern French demoiselle "young lady"), modified (by association with dame) from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Romance *domnicella, diminutive of Latin domina "lady" (see dame). Archaic until revived by romantic poets, along with 16c.-17c. variant form damozel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper