dam·​sel | \ˈdam-zəl \
variants: or less commonly damosel or damozel \ˈda-​mə-​ˌzel \

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

The franchise, especially its older films, has been criticized for promoting outdated notions of femininity and damsel-in-distress narratives in which only a man can save the day.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and Mia Wasikowska revel in 'Damsel's' new take on the Old West," 27 June 2018 Damsel takes its title from the outdated idea of the damsel in distress, a concept that gets systematically overturned in this offbeat western. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Damsel': Robert Pattinson neo-western shoots itself in its hipster foot," 27 June 2018 The film mostly exists to point out the racist and sexist structures inherent to the Western, to the concepts of gunslinging heroes and damsels in distress. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Damsel Is a One-Note Satire of Classic Westerns," 23 June 2018 Eve has to save her former superior, Frank (Darren Boyd), who becomes a sort of damsel in distress. New York Times, "‘Killing Eve’: The Showrunner and Stars on the Love Story Behind the Sleeper Hit," 25 May 2018 In fairytales, women are often damsels to be saved or witches to be defeated. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Tarana Burke Retells the Story of Harriet Tubman on the Rebel Girls Podcast," 5 June 2018 In the cattails surrounding the pond there will be another show as damsel and dragonflies compete with mountain wildflowers to add reds and blues to the spring landscape. Ernie Cowan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Visit the High Sierra with a trip to Palomar Mountain," 11 May 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

25 Nov 2018

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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

: a young woman who is not married


dam·​sel | \ˈdam-zəl \

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

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