One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A girl or young woman.
lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, femaleView synonyms
- ‘Its most interesting aspect concerns the fate of the lovely colleen, called ‘Kitty.’’
- ‘A tireless worker all her life, she is a brave colleen and she shows what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it.’
- ‘It is ironic that what O'Casey was satirising in some of his later plays, the dancing colleens at the crossroads blessed by big bellied bishops, is what, in effect, is celebrated in that father of all cash cows Riverdance.’
- ‘Sally McCullough and Marie Murphy nudged the Slaney in front, but two games later the Collins' colleens were back on level terms, Brenda Deegan and Jackie McMullan producing the winning arrows.’
- ‘Just before the game a lovely colleen read the news headlines.’
Early 19th century: from Irish cailin, diminutive of caile ‘countrywoman’.
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