demimonde

demimonde

[dem-ee-mond; French duh-mee-mawnd]
noun
1.
(especially during the last half of the 19th century) a class of women who have lost their standing in respectable society because of indiscreet behavior or sexual promiscuity.
2.
a demimondaine.
3.
prostitutes or courtesans in general.
4.
a group whose activities are ethically or legally questionable: a demimonde of investigative journalists writing for the sensationalist tabloids.
5.
a group characterized by lack of success or status: the literary demimonde.

Origin:
1850–55; < French, equivalent to demi- demi- + monde world (< Latin mundus)

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World English Dictionary
demimonde (ˌdɛmɪˈmɒnd, French dəmimɔ̃d)
 
n
1.  (esp in the 19th century) those women considered to be outside respectable society, esp on account of sexual promiscuity
2.  any social group considered to be not wholly respectable
 
[C19: from French, literally: half-world]

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