dam·​sel | \ ˈdam-zəl How to pronounce damsel (audio) \
variants: or less commonly damosel or damozel \ ˈda-​mə-​ˌzel How to pronounce damozel (audio) \

Definition of damsel

: a young woman:
a archaic : a young unmarried woman of noble birth
b : girl

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Synonyms for damsel


demoiselle, girl, maid, maiden, miss

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Examples of damsel in a Sentence

knights are celebrated in fairy tales for rescuing damsels in distress

Recent Examples on the Web

Bob is a dude in distress and your gal pal is in damsel-to-the-rescue mode. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "My roommate is my best friend. Now she wants her boyfriend to move in, too.," 15 June 2019 Yet, to my especial surprise, many of these downtrodden damsels weren’t crusading millennial activists fresh from campus indoctrination camps but women in their sixties from my own generation. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 Lonely, powerful dudes have been making off with damsels and then hiding them away since at least Greek mythology and probably before. Vogue, "The 55 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time," 1 Feb. 2019 Its title is a bit ironic — who is the real damsel here? Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Stellan Skarsgård as Toby’s dastardly boss, Olga Kurylenko as the boss’ vampy wife and Joana Ribeiro as a damsel in distress who becomes the focus of Javier’s chivalrous intent. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Terry Gilliam gets his long-overdue moment with ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ at Cannes," 20 May 2018 The franchise, especially its older films, has been criticized for promoting outdated notions of femininity and damsel-in-distress narratives in which only a man can save the day. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Beauty and the Backlash: Disney’s Modern Princess Problem," 17 Nov. 2018 The movie, by veteran horror flick director Wes Craven, is known as much for Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress as for its plot. Charles Stockdale And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 24 most forgettable superheroes in movies," 5 July 2018 The film’s heroes may not be so heroic and the damsels may not be in much distress. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska revel in 'Damsel's' new take on the Old West," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'damsel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of damsel

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for damsel

Middle English damesel, from Anglo-French dameisele, from Vulgar Latin *domnicella young noblewoman, diminutive of Latin domina lady

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Statistics for damsel

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for damsel

The first known use of damsel was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of damsel

old-fashioned : a young woman who is not married


dam·​sel | \ ˈdam-zəl How to pronounce damsel (audio) \

Kids Definition of damsel

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More from Merriam-Webster on damsel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for damsel

Spanish Central: Translation of damsel

Nglish: Translation of damsel for Spanish Speakers

Comments on damsel

What made you want to look up damsel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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