- (sometimes lowercase) a man who embodies a woman's romantic ideal.
- a man who avidly seeks the attention and affections of women; ladies' man.
Origin of Prince Charming
1840–50; on the pattern of earlier King Charming, ultimately translation (with word order unchanged) of French Roi Charmant, the hero of a fairy tale by the Comtesse Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy (circa 1650–1705)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Word Origin and History for prince charming
1837, from French Roi Charmant, name of the hero of Comtesse d'Aulnoy's "L'Oiseau Bleu" (1697). In English he was adopted into native fairy tales including "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella."
As for me, I have always agreed with the fairy books that the moment when Prince Charming arrives is the perfect climax. Everything that goes before in the life of a girl simply leads up to that moment, and everything that comes after dates from it; and while the girl of the twentieth century, sallying forth in search of adventure, may not hope to meet at the next turn a knight in shining armor, or a sighing troubadour, she does hope, if she is normal and has the normal dreams of a girl, to find her hero in some of the men who pass her way. [Temple Bailey, "Adventures in Girlhood," Philadelphia, 1919]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper