Definition of dame in English:


Line breaks: dame
Pronunciation: /deɪm


1 (Dame) (In the UK) the title given to a woman with the rank of Knight Commander or holder of the Grand Cross in the Orders of Chivalry: Dame Vera Lynn
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  • The Knights and Dames of the New Zealand Order of Merit took a British tradition, and gave it a distinctly New Zealand flavour.
  • She was the first and only woman appointed a Dame of the Order of Australia.
  • The two British-born stars were honoured as Dames Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
2 archaic or humorous An elderly or mature woman: a matronly dame presided at the table
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  • As Donaldson is regarded as a divisive whipper-snapper by the elderly gents and dames on the Council, the party leader is probably safe until the autumn.
  • ‘Appalling mass of cars and charabancs… disgorging Women's Institute dames with white crimped hair and legs awry ’, he noted of Forde Abbey.
  • Everyone is upstaged by Eileen Atkins as wealthy Miss Matilda Crawley, the cantankerous dame who sponsors Becky's social ascent.
2.1North American informal A woman: a rich dame who took her husband to the cleaners
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  • There's must be a wealthy society dame (preferably played by Margaret Dumont) who is entirely smitten with Groucho, though he walks all over her.
  • And any dame who loves ‘Babe’ and ice hockey is one I know I can trust.
  • Roxie's never going to be a towering intellect, but she's one fun dame.
2.2 (also pantomime dame) British A comic middle-aged female character in modern pantomime, usually played by a man.
More example sentences
  • He is about to have a theatrical sex change and play Widow Twankey, the pantomime dame, in Aladdin this Christmas.
  • For those who hark after the dying traditions, the disappointment at the demise of the pantomime dame is off-set by Gail Watson's appearance as a cross-gendered Peter Pan.
  • Last year, Sir Ian, 65, said his only remaining ambition was to appear in the Street - after fulfilling his other desire to play a pantomime dame.


Middle English (denoting a female ruler): via Old French from Latin domina 'mistress'.

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