From Middle English dame, dam (“(term of address or title of a) woman of rank, lady; mistress of a household; superior of a convent; mother”), from Old French dame (“lady; term of address for a woman; the queen in card games and chess”), from Latin domina (“mistress of the house”), feminine form of dominus (“lord, master, ruler; owner of a residence”), ultimately either from Proto-Indo-European *demh₂- (“to domesticate, tame”) or from Latin domus (“home, house”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dem- (“to build (up)”)). Doublet of donna.
dame (plural dames)
- (Britain) Usually capitalized as Dame: a title equivalent to Sir for a female knight.
Dame Edith Sitwell
- (Britain) A matron at Eton College.
- (Britain, theater) In traditional pantomime: a melodramatic female often played by a man in drag.
- (US, dated, informal, slightly derogatory) A woman.
1949, Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics), Richard Rodgers (music), “There Is Nothing Like a Dame”, in South Pacific; published in Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics); Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan (book); Albert Sirmay [i.e., Albert Szirmai] (vocal score editor), South Pacific. A Musical Play. [...] Adapted from James A. Michener’s [...] Tales of the South Pacific [...], New York, N.Y.: Williamson Music; Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard, 1949, OCLC 497235024, page 30:
- There is nothin' like a dame / Nothin' in the world. / There is nothin' you can name / That is anythin' like a dame.
- (archaic) A lady, a woman.
title equivalent to Sir for a female knight
(US, dated, informal, slightly derogatory) a woman
- Compound of the informal second-person singular (tú) affirmative imperative form of dar, da and the pronoun me: give me!