Definition of magdalen in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡdəlɪn/


1 (the Magdalen or the Magdalene) St Mary Magdalene.
1.1 archaic A reformed prostitute.
Example sentences
  • Highlights of Matron Freeberger's days included visits from former and reformed Magdalens.
  • Should they desire to remain in the convent, after a period of probation, they are allowed to become Magdalens and eventually make the vows of the Magdalen order.
  • As prostitute par excellence, the example of the Magdalen could be called upon to reveal the way forward for women needing to seek repentance from sexual misconduct (the theme so searingly explored in the movie of the Irish magdalens).
1.2 archaic A home for reformed prostitutes.


Late Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek (Maria hē) Magdalēnē '(Mary of) Magdala' (to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection; John 20:1–18), formerly identified with the sinner of Luke 7:37.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mag|da¦len

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