Definition of Cinderella in English:


proper noun

  • 1A girl in various traditional European fairy tales. In the version by Charles Perrault she is exploited as a servant by her family but enabled by a fairy godmother to attend a royal ball. She meets and captivates Prince Charming but has to flee at midnight, accidentally leaving one of the glass slippers she is wearing behind. The prince sends servants all over the country to find the young woman whose foot fits the slipper: when Cinderella is finally found, she and Prince Charming marry.

    1. 1.1[as noun]A person or thing that is undeservedly neglected or ignored.
      ‘is research into breast cancer to remain the Cinderella of medicine?’
      • ‘In terms of recognition, children's companies have been the Cinderellas of theatre.’
      • ‘This is the Cinderella of the arts, dependent on celebrities and multinationals for its erratic funding.’
      • ‘Mental health patients are the Cinderellas of the NHS, always have been, always will be.’
      • ‘They are the Cinderellas of the public sector workers.’
      • ‘It is that mentality that has made the grammar schools the Cinderellas of the Five Year Plan.’
      • ‘The art gallery may justly be considered the Cinderella of leisure provision in the city.’
      • ‘According to Cllr Brian Stanley athletics is still the Cinderella of sport in Laois.’


From cinder + the diminutive suffix -ella, on the pattern of French Cendrillon, from cendre cinders.