[dem-wuh-zel, dem-uh-; French duh-mwa-zel]
noun, plural dem·oi·selles [dem-wuh-zelz; French duh-mwa-zel] /ˌdɛm wəˈzɛlz; French də mwaˈzɛl/.
  1. an unmarried girl or young woman.
  2. demoiselle crane.
  3. a damselfly, especially of the genus Agrion.
  4. damselfish.
  5. Furniture. a lady's wig stand of the 18th century, in the form of a pedestal table.

Origin of demoiselle

From French, dating back to 1760–70; see origin at damsel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demoiselle

Historical Examples of demoiselle

  • He would fall in love, not with the demoiselle, but the dower.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • There's for the demoiselle who craved for knights to break lances for her!'

    Two Penniless Princesses

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Then she said, almost breathlessly, "We are not to talk to the French demoiselle."

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • And if I am not an excellent husband to the demoiselle, it will be her own fault.

    My Novel, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Alone missing from it was the cold, colorless beauty of the demoiselle Marie.

    Robin Hood

    Paul Creswick

British Dictionary definitions for demoiselle


  1. Also called: demoiselle crane, Numidian crane a small crane, Anthropoides virgo, of central Asia, N Africa, and SE Europe, having grey plumage with long black breast feathers and white ear tufts
  2. a less common name for a damselfly
  3. another name for damselfish
  4. a literary word for damsel

Word Origin for demoiselle

C16: from French: young woman; see damsel
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 demoiselle

1510s, from French demoiselle (Old French dameiselle); see damsel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper