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[dam-zuh l] /ˈdæm zəl/
noun, Literary.
a young woman or girl; a maiden, originally one of gentle or noble birth.
Origin of damsel
1150-1200; Middle English damisel < Anglo-French (Old French damoisele) < Vulgar Latin *dominicella, equivalent to Latin domin(a) lady (see dame) + -i- -i- + -cella feminine diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for damsel
  • The wind whips flags, horses' manes and the hair of a beautiful damsel.
  • Your chair might sympathize with you as a damsel in distress.
  • Get into the atmosphere with this lightweight, springy do it all damsel.
  • The volatile damsel he loves is too proud to admit it and marries a rich banker to spite her ardent admirer.
  • Although the movie halfheartedly tries to portray her as a damsel in distress, that effort doesn't wash.
  • Then you've got to get the damsel in the dress, lowering her into the waist of the skirt-cake.
  • For hooking trout, the lures that seem to work here are any flies that resemble a dry damsel fly.
  • It may not be wrong to describe democracy as a vulnerable damsel, needing constant protection of a watchful eye.
  • Many dragonflies and damsel flies inhabit the shallow warm water present.
  • He helps a village full of delinquent unicorns, rescues an uncooperative damsel, and finds a husband for a princess.
British Dictionary definitions for damsel


(archaic or poetic) a young unmarried woman; maiden
Word Origin
C13: from Old French damoisele, from Vulgar Latin domnicella (unattested) young lady, from Latin domina mistress; see dame
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for damsel

late 12c., from Old French dameisele "woman of noble birth" (Modern French demoiselle "young lady"), modified (by association with dame) from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Romance *domnicella, diminutive of Latin domina "lady" (see dame). Archaic until revived by romantic poets, along with 16c.-17c. variant form damozel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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