demimonde

[ dem-ee-mond; French duh-mee-mawnd ]
/ ˈdɛm iˌmɒnd; French də miˈmɔ̃d /

noun

(especially during the last half of the 19th century) a class of women who have lost their standing in respectable society because of indiscreet behavior or sexual promiscuity.
a demimondaine.
prostitutes or courtesans in general.
a group whose activities are ethically or legally questionable: a demimonde of investigative journalists writing for the sensationalist tabloids.
a group characterized by lack of success or status: the literary demimonde.

Origin of demimonde

1850–55; < French, equivalent to demi- demi- + monde world (< Latin mundus)
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British Dictionary definitions for demimonde

demimonde
/ (ˌdɛmɪˈmɒnd, French dəmimɔ̃d) /

noun

(esp in the 19th century) those women considered to be outside respectable society, esp on account of sexual promiscuity
any social group considered to be not wholly respectable

Word Origin for demimonde

C19: from French, literally: half-world
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