One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in the UK) the title given to a woman equivalent to the rank of knight.
- ‘Soon after her return from her 27,400-mile journey, the woman from landlocked Derbyshire was made a Dame.’
- ‘During her formative years, she was one of Sister Mary Leo's girls - along with two singers destined to be Dames - Kiri Te Kanawa and Malvina Major.’
- ‘She was the first and only woman appointed a Dame of the Order of Australia.’
- ‘The list also includes Her Majesty The Queen, eight more Dukes, five Marquesses, thirteen Earls, five Viscounts, twenty-three Lords, seven Baronets, fifty-four Knights, two Dames and six Ladies.’
- ‘The former chairman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Ruth Deech, was made a Dame.’
- ‘The two British-born stars were honoured as Dames Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.’
- ‘In 1971, she was made a Dame of the British Empire. She died in 1976.’
- ‘She won the Booker Prize for The Sea, The Sea in 1978 and was made a CBE in 1976, then a Dame in 1987.’
- ‘The Knights and Dames of the New Zealand Order of Merit took a British tradition, and gave it a distinctly New Zealand flavour.’
- ‘She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993.’
- ‘Wiltshire Chief Constable Elizabeth Neville has also been honoured and been made a Dame.’
- ‘Pamela Coward of Middleton Technology School, Manchester, and Ruth Robins, of the Jewish Free School in London, become Dames of the British Empire.’
- ‘It is a historic first, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, two-time academy award winner, blowing her nose on TV.’
- ‘Wartime singer Dame Vera Lynn yesterday urged her old friend to ‘take it easy’.’
- ‘Is that what I call you, do I call you Dame Maggie?’
- ‘His supporters probably deserve some sort of gong - if McArthur can be a Dame for going sailing, this woman must be worth at least an OBE.’
2humorous, archaic An elderly or mature woman.
- ‘‘Appalling mass of cars and charabancs… disgorging Women's Institute dames with white crimped hair and legs awry ’, he noted of Forde Abbey.’
- ‘Everyone is upstaged by Eileen Atkins as wealthy Miss Matilda Crawley, the cantankerous dame who sponsors Becky's social ascent.’
- ‘As Donaldson is regarded as a divisive whipper-snapper by the elderly gents and dames on the Council, the party leader is probably safe until the autumn.’
- 2.1North American informal A woman.
lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, femaleView synonyms
- ‘Its main characters are played by a dream team of heavyweight Hollywood dames (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore) whose involvement screams ‘respectability’.’
- ‘So I'm talking to a rather fetching dame with a disco outfit circa 1970, when a nebbish second year inserts himself uninvited to our conversation.’
- ‘This no-nonsense downtown dame had been working as a lingerie model when she was abruptly called to star in the lead role of a quality film production.’
- ‘Mae is a serious role, but Lombard's smart-alecky tough dame isn't far from the screwball heroines for which she's best remembered.’
- ‘She was most effective as a lower class dame and no amount of voice training could hide that.’
- ‘So you and this Duckworth dame and A. are first cousins and L.B. is my second cousin?’
- ‘Well it's there, just waiting for you to gather single blokes and dames and lock them in the unlit tunnel for a month.’
- ‘My quest: what has this dame got that I haven't got?’
- ‘To call Barbara ‘fickle’ would be putting it mildly: this dame is as cold and calculating as Einstein in a freezer!’
- ‘Roxie's never going to be a towering intellect, but she's one fun dame.’
- ‘She was no wisecracking dame like Rosalind Russell or goofy, well-meaning wife like Irene Dunne.’
- ‘She's a very reserved and classy dame with impeccable taste in food.’
- ‘Laury makes an uncomfortable transition from goody-two-shoes to fallen mobster dame, back to goody-two-shoes, and then back to mobster dame.’
- ‘There's must be a wealthy society dame (preferably played by Margaret Dumont) who is entirely smitten with Groucho, though he walks all over her.’
- ‘These are the kind of urban wild child dames that I like to drink and party and have great conversations with.’
- ‘‘The first week it was more of ‘let us check this dame out with her new outfit and everything’.’
- ‘You remind me of this dame I knew once, only it wasn't real, it was a dream.’
- ‘The classy and manipulative Kitty is now a gold digging dame with a thrill for danger and dangerous men.’
- ‘This regal dame occupies a corner of the classroom, always decked out in flawless aerobic outfits.’
- ‘And any dame who loves ‘Babe’ and ice hockey is one I know I can trust.’
Middle English (denoting a female ruler): via Old French from Latin domina ‘mistress’.
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