soubrette

[soo-bret]

noun

a maidservant or lady's maid in a play, opera, or the like, especially one displaying coquetry, pertness, and a tendency to engage in intrigue.
an actress playing such a role.
any lively or pert young woman.

Nearby words

  1. sou-sou,
  2. sou.,
  3. souari nut,
  4. soubise,
  5. soubresaut,
  6. soubriquet,
  7. soucar,
  8. souchong,
  9. soudan,
  10. souffle

Origin of soubrette

1745–55; < French: lady's maid < Provençal soubreto, derivative of soubret affected, ultimately derivative of Old Provençal sobrar < Latin superāre to be above

Related formssou·bret·tish, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soubrette


British Dictionary definitions for soubrette

soubrette

noun

a minor female role in comedy, often that of a pert lady's maid
any pert or flirtatious girl
Derived Formssoubrettish, adjective

Word Origin for soubrette

C18: from French: maidservant, from Provençal soubreto, from soubret conceited, from soubra to exceed, from Latin superāre to surmount, from super above

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 soubrette

soubrette

n.

1753, theatrical jargon word for lady's maid characters in plays and operas, who typically were pert, flirtatious, and intriguing, from French, from Provençal soubreto "affected, conceited," fem. of soubret "coy, reserved," from soubra "to set aside," originally "to exceed," from Old Provençal sobrar, from Latin superare "to rise above, overcome," from super "over, above, beyond" (see super-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper