Definition of demoiselle in English:


Line breaks: de¦mois|elle
Pronunciation: /ˌdɛmwɑːˈzɛl


1 (also demoiselle crane) A small Old World crane with a black head and breast and white ear tufts, breeding in SE Europe and central Asia.
  • Anthropoides virgo, family Gruidae
More example sentences
  • Keeping us company were a demoiselle crane on the shore and a flock of waders in the water.
  • Lightweight satellite transmitters were attached to a handful of migratory Demoiselle Cranes.
  • Two Demoiselle Cranes were tracked successfully from Mongolia to India.
2A damselfly, especially an agrion.
More example sentences
  • The Banded Demoiselle belongs to a group of insects called Odonata (meaning toothed jaws) that includes Dragonflies and Damselflies.
  • The Banded Demoiselle only lives for a week or two as an adult, but spends most of its life as a larva (or nymph) underwater.
  • Banded Demoiselle larvae need the permanent slow-flowing water of rivers, streams and some canals.
3A damselfish.
More example sentences
  • The tropical fish tank came fully equipped: pumps, filters, hoses, light fixtures, coral arrangements, and a small cadre of lively black-and-white-striped damselfish, also called demoiselles.
  • Every inch is taken up by plants and animals in a riot of colour, a living mosaic over which patrol vividly coloured wrasse and dense shoals of demoiselles and blue maomao.
  • Cape Brett, where you find the famous Hole in the Rock, is a nice scenic dive with huge shoals of demoiselles, blue maomao, koheru and the odd eagle ray.
4 archaic or literary A young woman.
More example sentences
  • Twelve years were to pass before Françaix wrote his next ballet, ‘Les demoiselles de la nuit) (The Ladies of the Night).
  • The goddess, clad in a diaphanous robe, overawes the medieval demoiselles who have gathered to admire their reflections in a mountain pool.
  • ‘Mon demoiselle,’ Garnier said with the slightest hint of sadness, ‘Can you not be courteous to me for this one visit?’


early 16th century (in sense 4): from French, from Old French dameisele 'damsel'.

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