Denotation vs. Connotation


[bel] /bɛl/
a woman or girl admired for her beauty and charm.
the most beautiful, charming, or engaging woman or girl among a number:
the belle of the ball.
Origin of belle
1615-25; < French; Old French bele < Latin bella, feminine of bellus fine, good-looking. See beau
Can be confused
bell, belle.


[bel] /bɛl/
a female given name, form of Bella. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for belle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It had been the study of belle's life to get what she wished in a clandestine way.

  • Raising his eyes from a contemplation of the heels in front of him, he saw belle Langdon.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • In their round of shopping, the Harrises saw an ideal robe being made for an American belle.

    The Harris-Ingram Experiment Charles E. Bolton
  • Shall I ever forget the heroic tableau of the hall of the belle Étoile?

    The Room in the Dragon Volant J. Sheridan LeFanu
  • Kate did not like to hear her father called Barb, but belle would not call him anything else.

    Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman
British Dictionary definitions for belle


a beautiful girl or woman
the most attractive or admired girl or woman at a place, function, etc (esp in the phrase the belle of the ball)
Word Origin
C17: from French, feminine of beau
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 belle

"beautiful woman well-dressed; reigning beauty," 1620s, from French belle, from Old French bele, from Latin bella, fem. of bellus "beautiful, fair" (see bene-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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