Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Used formerly as a courtesy title for a woman in authority or a mistress of a household.
  • n. A married woman; a matron.
  • n. An elderly woman.
  • n. Slang A woman.
  • n. Chiefly British A woman holding a nonhereditary title conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or service to the country.
  • n. Chiefly British The wife or widow of a knight.
  • n. Chiefly British Used as the title for such a woman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The equivalent title to Sir for a female knight.
  • n. Slightly derogatory way of referring to a woman.
  • n. Lady, woman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mistress of a family, who is a lady; a woman in authority; especially, a lady.
  • n. The mistress of a family in common life, or the mistress of a common school.
  • n. A woman in general, esp. an elderly woman.
  • n. A mother; -- applied to human beings and quadrupeds.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mother.
  • n. A dam: said of beasts.
  • n. A woman of rank, high social position, or culture; a lady; specifically, in Great Britain, the legal title of the wife or widow of a knight or baronet.
  • n. A woman in general; particularly, a woman of mature years, a married woman, or the mistress of a household: formerly often used (like the modern Mrs.) as a title, before either the surname or the Christian name.
  • n. The mistress of an elementary school.
  • n. In Eton, England, a woman with whom the boys board, and who has a certain care over them; sometimes, also, a man who occupies the same position.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. informal terms for a (young) woman
  • n. a woman of refinement

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin domina, feminine of dominus, lord, master.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin domina (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He accepted this alms, and was rejoiced that he was faithful to the last to poverty, which he called his dame and his mistress; then raising his hands to heaven, he gave glory to our Lord Jesus

    The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi

  • He accepted this alms, and was rejoiced that he was faithful to the last to poverty, which he called his dame and his mistress; then raising his hands to heaven, he gave glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, that, being disengaged and free from everything, he was about to go to Him.

    The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi

  • Chess-players may have borrowed the word dame from the game of draughts.

    languagehat.com: CHESS WORDS.

  • In the animal wing a strange-looking dame is down at the end, talking to a sleepy tiger.

    It's Like This, Cat

  • Wrongly am I called dame; but I know well that he who calls me dame knows not that I am a maid.

    Clig├ęs. English

  • Moved out of herself by the nearness of death, the titled dame had reverted to childish days, speaking her thoughts aloud.

    All Aboard A Story for Girls

  • My grand-dame is sharp of hearing and light of slumber.

    The Golden Apple Tree

  • The yeoman-keeper, therefore, our friend Joceline, had constructed, for his own accommodation, and that of the old woman he called his dame, a wattled hut, such as his own labour, with that of a neighbour or two, had erected in the course of a few days.

    Woodstock

  • From the reign of Robert, the son of Hugh Capet, the barons of Courtenay are conspicuous among the immediate vassals of the crown; and Joscelin, the grandson of Atho and a noble dame, is enrolled among the heroes of the first crusade.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • 182 The Amazonian dame is a favourite in folk-lore and is an ornament to poetry from the Iliad to our modern day.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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