Definition of debutante in US English:



  • An upper-class young woman making her first appearance in fashionable society.

    • ‘But the council's acting chief executive Kim Corrie doesn't think being a debutante has gone out of fashion, and she's hopeful there'll be enough women for a ball next year.’
    • ‘But since he is a millworker, and she a debutante, Allie's parents disapprove and eventually they are separated when the Nelsons return to the city, and Allie to college.’
    • ‘In contrast to the dazzling young debutante, Princess Mary looked hopelessly plain despite wearing a light green dress.’
    • ‘About a quarter of a million people line the banks of the Thames and the race is part of the social season, attended by debutantes and society figures with strict entry and dress codes for some parts of the riverbank.’
    • ‘Joyce Anstruther, as she then was, ‘came out’ as a debutante into the society marriage market.’
    • ‘Without going into too much detail, Mr. Skeffington is the story of an orphaned but popular young New York debutante and her morose brother, who squanders their fortune.’
    • ‘Though the light that the lone lamp provided was dim, the debutantes could all see that the girl who kept Lord William and Mr. Phineas company was ravishing, with jet black hair and magnolia skin.’
    • ‘Did her voice really sound that much like a Jewish American Princess debutante?’
    • ‘In his youth, he was an international playboy winning the heart of many debutantes, including Fiona Campbell-Walker, a top model who married one of the richest men in Europe, Baron Thyssen.’
    • ‘Elaine Webb never got the chance to be a debutante when she was a teenager, so she's decided to do it 40 years later.’
    • ‘Fashion is a relative word when you're eight - at least it was 20 years ago - but, even then, a dark salmon cardigan ain't gonna make any young debutante the belle of the ball.’
    • ‘As a lieutenant in the Life Guards, he wed his first wife Susan, an 18-year-old debutante, in 1956.’
    • ‘In 1839 she came out in society as a debutante, with the Nightingales taking an entire floor of the Carlton Hotel in London's Regent Street to mark the event.’
    • ‘Tea parties were Irene's favorite activity, and Elisa loved to pretend she was a high society debutante (which she would be in a matter of years but the girl was impatient).’
    • ‘They single out a debutante, Cecile de Volange, new to society and under the ever-watchful eye of her mother, and Hortense de Tourvel, a settled lady of a certain age.’
    • ‘The year is 1949 and Lisa Norton plays Miriam, a 19-year-old debutante who has just run away from her parents.’
    • ‘Reno is still interested in Billy romantically but Billy explains to her that he is in love with Hope Harcourt, an American debutante.’
    • ‘The dashing young men that were invited to the ball by debutantes from St Brigid's secondary school got more than they bargained for when they turned up to collect their dates for the evening.’
    • ‘My darling daughter, Beatrix herself had been one of the most successful debutantes in her younger years, and she saw no reason as to why her daughter should not follow in her path.’
    • ‘First Kipps falls for upper-crust debutante Helen Washington.’


Early 19th century: from French débutante (feminine) ‘leading off’, from the verb débuter.