soubrettish

soubrette

[soo-bret]
noun
1.
a maidservant or lady's maid in a play, opera, or the like, especially one displaying coquetry, pertness, and a tendency to engage in intrigue.
2.
an actress playing such a role.
3.
any lively or pert young woman.

Origin:
1745–55; < French: lady's maid < Provençal soubreto, derivative of soubret affected, ultimately derivative of Old Provençal sobrar < Latin superāre to be above

soubrettish, adjective
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World English Dictionary
soubrette (suːˈbrɛt)
 
n
1.  a minor female role in comedy, often that of a pert lady's maid
2.  any pert or flirtatious girl
 
[C18: from French: maidservant, from Provençal soubreto, from soubret conceited, from soubra to exceed, from Latin superāre to surmount, from super above]
 
sou'brettish
 
adj

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Word Origin & History

soubrette
1753, theatrical jargon for lady's maid characters in plays and operas, who were usually pert, flirtatious, and intriguing, from Fr., from Prov. soubreto "affected, conceited," fem. of soubret "coy, reserved," from soubra "to set aside," originally "to exceed," from O.Prov. sobrar, from L. superare
"to rise above, overcome," from super "over, above, beyond" (see super-).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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