Definition of belle in US English:



  • A beautiful girl or woman, especially the most beautiful at a particular event or in a particular group.

    ‘the belle of the season’
    • ‘I am so excited because I'm talking to one of the great southern belles from Georgia.’
    • ‘Sumptuous buildings rise up from the wooded hillsides, the four-storey mansions are festooned with shapely balconies and are as curvaceous as an Edwardian belle.’
    • ‘Businessmen adjusted their ties, women applied makeup, and young belles toyed with their locks.’
    • ‘The terrible twosome came unstuck after subjecting an innocent group of southern belles to a tirade of verbal abuse in the town centre.’
    • ‘In a tribute to these stunning stars, I have chosen to profile some of the most beautiful Hollywood belles of all time.’
    • ‘I heard that the Captain had two southern belles for daughters, but what they did not tell me was that they would be witty as well.’
    • ‘She goes from being a Southern belle, who's never been able to do anything practical, to someone who learns to survive under the most terrible circumstances of war and deprivation.’
    • ‘Her fledgling company conjures up headpieces known as ‘fascinators’ - a cross between a hat and a hair accessory - which are proving a hit with mothers of the bride and wedding belles on both sides of the Atlantic.’
    • ‘Twelve seaside belles are risking blushes to raise vital cash for two good causes.’
    • ‘Was it still the time of those opulent balls and of southern belles like Scarlett flirting with everyone?’
    • ‘Saratoga may have been filled with beautiful belles, he acknowledges - but his own eldest daughter was ‘the loveliest of them all.’’
    • ‘There was also a southern belle there with what I presumed was her mother.’
    • ‘As I sat and watched in quiet awe, she continued to move with the grace of a southern belle.’
    • ‘Look at Teri for example, beautiful in her prime but now, no longer a belle.’
    • ‘Wedding belles: Wedding dresses and summer blossom were the order of the day in the village this week as some people have two weddings to attend in one weekend.’
    • ‘Certainly not more beautiful than most of the southern belles that could be found in South Carolina, she was still passable, with blonde hair and dark green eyes.’
    • ‘As a girl, she did everything she was supposed to do: she was a Southern belle who married a dapper genius once he became rich enough to keep her.’
    • ‘The southern belle is forced to leave her home town in Mississippi following the loss of her family estate to creditors.’
    • ‘You don't want to be the only belle at the ball dressed like Cinderella.’
    • ‘You could doll her up - and Hollywood did - all you wanted, and she'd be the prettiest belle at the ball.’
    beauty, beautiful woman, dream, vision, picture, pin-up, goddess, venus, siren, charmer, enchantress, seductress
    View synonyms


  • belle of the ball

    • The most beautiful and popular girl or woman at a dance.

      • ‘Regaining his balance, Michael searched the room for his belle of the ball.’
      • ‘She was the life of the party the belle of the ball, the reason to live.’
      • ‘She would be the belle of the ball once again, an exotic darling from across the sea, to be petted and pampered and loved by all.’
      • ‘‘You're going to be the belle of the ball,’ Jerry commented in her ear.’
      • ‘In August this year she was the belle of the ball at her daughters wedding.’
      • ‘It was one of those great occasions in town, highlighted by selecting the belle of the ball at the dance that night.’
      • ‘She's the belle of the ball, the queen of the town.’
      • ‘Your tree is up, your lights are twinkling and the soft sounds of Christmas carols are humming in the background, so it must be time to find the perfect frock to make you the belle of the ball.’
      • ‘You are definitely going to be the belle of the ball.’
      • ‘They were the belles of the ball in their part of the country.’


Early 17th century: from French, feminine of beau, from Latin bella, feminine of bellus ‘beautiful’.