Definition of diva in English:



  • 1A celebrated female opera singer.

    • ‘This is the story of Emma Albani, a woman from Chambly, Quebec who rose to become one of the late 19th century's greatest opera divas.’
    • ‘In 1851 the famed diva Jenny Lind, known as the Swedish Nightingale, sang at the Academy of Music opera house in Northampton, Mass.’
    • ‘How distant those days of divas and arias must seem now as he watches the clouds gather over the Cuillins.’
    • ‘One of Cuba's most celebrated divas will stop off in Cork and Dublin next weekend.’
    • ‘The following year McNally won the Tony again for Master Class, his portrait of opera diva Maria Callas.’
    • ‘I cannot emphasise too strongly the vocal results of this disc from two accomplished divas of this order.’
    • ‘Baker, not ordinarily thought of as a dramatic singer, shows most opera divas how to act with the voice.’
    • ‘Why would one of opera's most acclaimed divas take a major musical risk?’
    • ‘In those days, each operatic diva had fiercely partisan fans.’
    • ‘‘In 1870, the diva of the opera house had the presence and effect of David Beckham, Madonna and Kylie Minogue all rolled into one,’ says Driver.’
    • ‘The opera diva could accent a single word, like ‘ma’ in Rosina's aria in The Barber of Seville.’
    • ‘Lieberson gets her own diva showcase at the Met later on this season, as Dido in Berlioz's Les Troyens, and I can't wait.’
    • ‘Perhaps our diva should have listened more carefully to her colleagues in this La Traviata and learned something from them.’
    • ‘Some of this singing is a little more operatic than it needs to be, but America's embrace is broad enough to hold the diva, the heldentenor, and more besides.’
    • ‘And with a soprano taking the role, rather than a mezzo-soprano, for once the two divas were equals in their fireworks.’
    leading actor, leading actress, leading performer, leading player, leading lady, leading man, lead, star
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A famous female singer of popular music.
      ‘a pop diva’
      • ‘The pop diva has a long cherished dream of giving a live performance with K.J. Jesudas.’
      • ‘So what is next for the reluctant jazz diva?’
      • ‘The soul singers - the soul divas especially - of the 1990s became notorious for their ranges, their vocal power, their melisma.’
      • ‘In the end, I picked as my bachelorette a capricious little blonde with ambitions to be a rock diva.’
      • ‘She enlists her portly dog, Bruno, a stolen pedal boat and a trio of aged divas - the former showbiz-queen ‘triplets’ of the title.’
      • ‘Beneath that formal newsreader exterior, who could have guessed that there lurked the spirit of a dance music diva?’
      • ‘The rising hip-hop diva has had a lot of good fortune come her way lately.’
      • ‘She had already become one of the most famous pop divas in the world, because of the Supremes.’
      • ‘But the top act is the eponymous Triplets, sister divas who sing and swing with tireless exhilaration.’
      • ‘It's the kind of powerful voice which is more often found on gospel singers than on pop divas, but MacLean makes the transition well.’
      • ‘"But we never said we were soul divas, " protests Bunton.’
      • ‘I've always loved big divas and their music, like Etta James.’
      • ‘They make fantastically successful pop stars, soul divas and sensitive singer-songwriters.’
      • ‘Well, diva Patti Labelle has been thrilling music fans for more than four decades.’
      • ‘The legendary soul diva of divas makes a welcome return date to Fairfield Concert Hall.’
      • ‘At 70, the flinty jazz diva took her final bow.’
    2. 1.2 A self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please (typically used of a woman)
      ‘she is much more the dedicated maverick than the petulant diva’
      • ‘Adam is such a diva!’
      • ‘She never earned the reputation of being 'difficult' or a diva.’
      • ‘She's not spoiled, she's not precious, she's not needy and it sets a tone for everybody because if your leading lady isn't going to be a diva then there really isn't room for anybody to be a diva.’
      • ‘He's a team-first guy without ounce of diva in him.’
      • ‘We all know celebs can be divas at the best of times.’
      • ‘Whatever the press says about him being a diva, he's not.’
      • ‘David assumed she was going to be a diva but "she's just a regular chick and that surprised me the most."’
      • ‘Really wish he'd stop being an egotistical diva.’
      • ‘She looks lovely, just a shame she is let down by her terrible attitude and diva-like behaviour onset.’
      • ‘She is a self-centered downtown diva with a head full of attitude.’
      • ‘Sorry, Jenny, there's no space for diva behaviour here’
      • ‘It's long been rumoured that the singer is a bit of a diva.’
      • ‘For God's sake, quit being such a diva.’


Late 19th century: via Italian from Latin, literally ‘goddess’.