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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples 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
1199, from O.Fr. dameisele, modified by association with dame from earlier donsele, from Gallo-Romance *domnicella, dim. of L. 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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