[ muh-don-uh ]
/ məˈdɒn ə /


the Virgin Mary (usually preceded by the).
a picture or statue representing the Virgin Mary.
(lowercase) Archaic. an Italian title of formal address to a woman.


Origin of Madonna

1575–85; < Italian: my lady Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for madonna

British Dictionary definitions for madonna


/ (məˈdɒnə) /


mainly RC Church a designation of the Virgin Mary
(sometimes not capital) a picture or statue of the Virgin Mary

Word Origin for Madonna

C16: Italian, from ma my + donna lady


/ (məˈdɒnə) /


full name Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. born 1958, US rock singer and film actress. Her records include "Like a Virgin" (1985), "Like a Prayer" (1989), Ray of Light (1998), Music (2000), and MDNA (2012). Her films include Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) and Evita (1996)
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 madonna



1580s, "Italian lady," from Italian madonna, from Old Italian ma donna (Italian mia donna) "my lady," from ma "my" + donna "lady," from Latin domina (see dame). Sense of "picture or statue of the Virgin Mary" is from 1640s. The U.S. singer/dancer (full name Madonna Louise Ciccone, b.1958) attained to pop stardom in fall 1984.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for madonna


A work of art depicting Mary, the mother of Jesus, especially one that shows her holding the infant Jesus; also a term for Mary herself. Madonna is Italian for “my lady.”


An American pop singer known for her many incarnations, ranging from an early “Material Girl” to a movie star (Evita) to a mother and wife. Many consider Madonna a promotional genius for her ability to reinvent herself.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.