noun, plural pri·ma don·nas, Italian pri·me don·ne [pree-me -dawn-ne]. /ˈpri mɛ ˈdɔn nɛ/.
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Words nearby prima donna
What does prima donna mean?
The literal meaning of prima donna is the lead or main female singer in an opera company. Prima donna is commonly used as a negative term for a person who’s extremely self-centered and temperamental.
In this sense, a prima donna expects and demands constant praise and special treatment and is easily irritated when they don’t get it. Though the literal sense of prima donna refers only to women, its figurative sense can be applied to anyone. The plural of prima donna is prima donnas (though the plural of the Italian phrase is prime donne).
Example: After the director had a fight with his lead actor, he accused him of being a selfish prima donna who was impossible to work with.
Where does prima donna come from?
Prima donna is taken directly from Italian, in which it literally means “first lady.” The first records of the term in English come from the 1700s. In the context of opera, the equivalent term for the leading male singer is primo uomo.
When opera was at the height of its popularity, the prima donna of an opera company was often an influential woman who commanded respect. However, some of these singers were infamously demanding, and the position became associated with a certain stereotype. Today, when we call someone a prima donna, it usually has nothing to do with opera and simply refers to a spoiled, entitled person who expects preferential treatment and throws a tantrum when they don’t get it. Though the term is still perhaps most often associated with performers or entertainers, it can be applied to any person who acts in such a way.
The word diva is a synonym for the literal sense of prima donna, and it can also be used in a similar figurative way as well, but it may not always carry the same negative sense that prima donna always does.
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What are some other forms related to prima donna?
- prima donnas (plural)
- prime donne (Italian plural)
What are some synonyms for prima donna?
What are some words that share a root or word element with prima donna?
What are some words that often get used in discussing prima donna?
How is prima donna used in real life?
Some people may apply the term to themselves to imply something about their talent or the type of treatment they expect, but calling someone a prima donna is never a compliment.
"Imran is such a nice boy, but can't act. Ranbir is a decent actor, but he's such a prima donna." – table next to me at restaurant
— Karan Talwar (@BollywoodGandu) June 13, 2011
In my experience this is a losing fight for reporters. The writer has a hard time not coming off as pain-in-the-butt prima donna, alienating co-workers. Over time most writers stop looking at what happens after they hit send. They move on to next story. https://t.co/6tqbq8lu6c
— Phil Rogers (@philgrogers) March 31, 2020
For more than half my life I thought that a prima Donna was a pre-Madonna. Like someone who was as famous as Madonna but before her
— Baluga Maloo (@BigMmamaaaaaaaa) April 3, 2020
Try using prima donna!
Which of the following words accurately describes a prima donna?
D. none of the above
Example sentences from the Web for prima donna
One might have thought she was applauding the prima-donna; but no, she was applauding herself.
You had benevolence to the poor chorus-singer, Signor Leo; and now she is prima-donna do you think she will forget you?Prince Fortunatus|William Black
The prima-donna of the whole comedy in the meanwhile looked well about her to see that none of the actors spared themselves.Freaks of Fanaticism|Sabine Baring-Gould
Mr. Zimandy shall be the impresario, and Madam Dormandy the prima-donna; they can pass for husband and wife.
One shot on either side, for the sake of a prima-donna, or a bet at the races, or a jostle in the streets.More Tales by Polish Authors|Various
British Dictionary definitions for prima donna
noun plural prima donnas
Word Origin for prima donna
Cultural definitions for prima donna
A vain and overly sensitive person who is temperamental and difficult to work with: “That Jenkins girl is a good gymnast, but she certainly is a prima donna.” In opera, the prima donna is the principal female soloist. From Italian, meaning “first lady.”