Definition of diva in US English:



  • 1A famous female opera singer.

    ‘your average opera isn't over till the diva trills her high notes’
    • ‘In 1851 the famed diva Jenny Lind, known as the Swedish Nightingale, sang at the Academy of Music opera house in Northampton, Mass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The following year McNally won the Tony again for Master Class, his portrait of opera diva Maria Callas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘Baker, not ordinarily thought of as a dramatic singer, shows most opera divas how to act with the voice.’
    • ‘I cannot emphasise too strongly the vocal results of this disc from two accomplished divas of this order.’
    • ‘One of Cuba's most celebrated divas will stop off in Cork and Dublin next weekend.’
    • ‘Perhaps our diva should have listened more carefully to her colleagues in this La Traviata and learned something from them.’
    • ‘And with a soprano taking the role, rather than a mezzo-soprano, for once the two divas were equals in their fireworks.’
    • ‘The opera diva could accent a single word, like ‘ma’ in Rosina's aria in The Barber of Seville.’
    • ‘Why would one of opera's most acclaimed divas take a major musical risk?’
    • ‘How distant those days of divas and arias must seem now as he watches the clouds gather over the Cuillins.’
    • ‘In those days, each operatic diva had fiercely partisan fans.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The soul singers - the soul divas especially - of the 1990s became notorious for their ranges, their vocal power, their melisma.’
      • ‘At 70, the flinty jazz diva took her final bow.’
      • ‘She had already become one of the most famous pop divas in the world, because of the Supremes.’
      • ‘She enlists her portly dog, Bruno, a stolen pedal boat and a trio of aged divas - the former showbiz-queen ‘triplets’ of the title.’
      • ‘In the end, I picked as my bachelorette a capricious little blonde with ambitions to be a rock 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've always loved big divas and their music, like Etta James.’
      • ‘"But we never said we were soul divas, " protests Bunton.’
      • ‘But the top act is the eponymous Triplets, sister divas who sing and swing with tireless exhilaration.’
    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’
      • ‘For God's sake, quit being such a diva.’
      • ‘Sorry, Jenny, there's no space for diva behaviour here’
      • ‘She is a self-centered downtown diva with a head full of attitude.’
      • ‘Really wish he'd stop being an egotistical diva.’
      • ‘He's a team-first guy without ounce of diva in him.’
      • ‘Adam is such a diva!’
      • ‘She never earned the reputation of being 'difficult' or a diva.’
      • ‘We all know celebs can be divas at the best of times.’
      • ‘Whatever the press says about him being a diva, he's not.’
      • ‘She looks lovely, just a shame she is let down by her terrible attitude and diva-like behaviour onset.’
      • ‘It's long been rumoured that the singer is a bit of 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.’
      • ‘David assumed she was going to be a diva but "she's just a regular chick and that surprised me the most."’


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