One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A leading female dancer, especially in a ballet company; a ballerina.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in The Times. From French première danseuse (apparently not recorded in dictionaries of French) from première, feminine of premier + danseuse.
première danseuse/ˌprɛmɪɛː dɒnˈsəːz//ˌprɛmɪɛː danˈsəːz//ˌprɛmɪɛː dɑːnˈsəːz/
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