beldam

beldam

[bel-duhm, -dam]
noun
1.
an old woman, especially an ugly one; hag.
2.
Obsolete, grandmother.
Also, beldame [bel-duhm, -deym] .


Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English, equivalent to bel- grand- (< Middle French bel, belle fine; see beau, belle) + dam mother (see dam2)

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To beldam
Collins
World English Dictionary
beldam or beldame (ˈbɛldəm)
 
n
1.  archaic an old woman, esp an ugly or malicious one; hag
2.  an obsolete word for grandmother
 
[C15: from bel- grand (as in grandmother), from Old French bel beautiful, from Latin bellus + dam mother, variant of dame]
 
beldame or beldame
 
n
 
[C15: from bel- grand (as in grandmother), from Old French bel beautiful, from Latin bellus + dam mother, variant of dame]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

beldam
"aged woman," 1570s; earlier "grandmother" (mid-15c.), from dame (q.v.) in the sense of "mother" + bel-, M.E. prefix expressing relationship (cf. belfader, belsire "grandfather"), from O.Fr. bel, belle "beautiful, fair, fine." This "direct relationship" sense of bel is not
found in French, where the prefix is used to form words for in-laws.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature