prime donne

prima donna

[pree-muh don-uh, prim-uh; Italian pree-mah dawn-nah]
noun, plural prima donnas Italian, prime donne [pree-me dawn-ne] .
a first or principal female singer of an opera company.
a temperamental person; a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.

1760–70; < Italian: literally, first lady; see prime, duenna Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prima donna (ˈpriːmə ˈdɒnə)
n , pl prima donnas
1.  a female operatic star; diva
2.  informal a temperamental person
[C19: from Italian: first lady]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

prima donna
1782, "principal female singer in an opera," from It. prima donna "first lady," from L. prima, fem. of primus "first" + domina "lady." Meaning "temperamental person" first recorded 1834.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
prima donna [(pree-muh, prim-uh don-uh)]

A vain and overly sensitive person who is temperamental and difficult to work with: “That Jenkins girl is a good gymnast, but she certainly is a prima donna.” In opera, the prima donna is the principal female soloist. From Italian, meaning “first lady.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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