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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for damsels
  • Think of me when you see the damsels carrying their earthenware jars with water upon their shoulders.
  • The slow moving waters in shallow rock pools along the edge of the river are littered with dainty damsels.
  • They painstakingly portrayed fair damsels and brave knights.
  • It has rounded up enough boys and damsels, scrubbed and polished, to fill a sizable hall.
  • When snorkeling, look for tropical fish such as damsels and butterfly fish.
British Dictionary definitions for damsels


(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 damsels



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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