dam·​sel ˈdam-zəl How to pronounce damsel (audio)
variants or less commonly damosel or damozel
: a young woman:
archaic : a young unmarried woman of noble birth
: girl

Examples of damsel in a Sentence

knights are celebrated in fairy tales for rescuing damsels in distress
Recent Examples on the Web Usually, there’s a princess named Zelda (surprise!), who either plays the damsel or a subversively integral part of the plot. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2023 Why does Peach—why does this damsel—get to be the real hero? WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023 That film — an orgy of violence perpetrated by stereotyped Blacks against White damsels in distress — was so popular it was treated to a special screening at Woodrow Wilson’s White House. Wil Haygood, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 In its earliest iterations, women were almost exclusively victims—pretty damsels in distress whose only chance of survival, if at all, was through a man. Essence, 31 Oct. 2023 But just when Aysha seems in danger of being reduced to a manic pixie dream girl or damsel in distress in his journey of self-discovery, the balance reverses in the second hour, as she’s confronted with her own crisis of identity. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 On Saturday, Netflix released the first teaser for Stranger Things star Brown's next movie, an atypical fantasy story titled Damsel that sees the actress as, well, a damsel thrown into a difficult situation. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 12 Nov. 2023 Princess Peach, far from being a damsel in distress, is a genuine leader of the Mushroom Kingdom. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023 Divers will appreciate the hotel's proximity to one of the best diving spots in the area: The Wall, part of the Puerto Rican Trench, just 200 yards from Cane Bay Beach, where reef sharks, damsels, and other tropical fish live. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 5 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'damsel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near damsel

Cite this Entry

“Damsel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/damsel. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


dam·​sel ˈdam-zəl How to pronounce damsel (audio)
variants also damosel or damozel

Middle English damesel "damsel," from early French dameisele (same meaning), from Latin domina "lady, mistress" — related to dame

More from Merriam-Webster on damsel

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!