demi·​monde | \ ˈde-mi-ˌmänd How to pronounce demimonde (audio) , ˈde-mē-\

Definition of demimonde

1a : a class of women on the fringes of respectable society supported by wealthy lovers also : their world
b : the world of prostitution
2 : a distinct circle or world that is often an isolated part of a larger world a night in the disco demimonde especially : one having low reputation or prestige

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of demimonde in a Sentence

a documentary examining the demimonde to which homosexuals were relegated before the start of the gay rights movement

Recent Examples on the Web

Like Bette Midler—one of Bernhard’s early idols—who got her start performing in New York’s bathhouses, Bernhard was embraced by the drag demimonde. Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, "Sandra Bernhard on Leaving Bitchy Behind," 24 June 2019 But the resulting work, chronicling events in a Parisian nocturnal demimonde of the recent past from the point of view of a club deejay, is vivid and discomfiting: The bartender from the Kat calls me one morning, late, drunk. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 2019 Truth be told, the list of collaborators doubles as a who’s who of New York's creative demimonde. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Get an Exclusive Preview of Object & Thing, New York's Newest Art and Design Fair," 2 May 2019 In between Shanghai was a sprawling, hyperenergetic demimonde of opium dens, gambling casinos, and illicit dance halls. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of July: the Monitor's picks," 12 July 2018 Vincent’s bar is home base for a vast demimonde ensemble: mobsters, cops, pimps, pornographers, construction workers, streetwalkers and the post-Stonewall gay community. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: HBO’s ‘The Deuce’ Works a Vibrant Hustle in the Naked City," 7 Sep. 2017 But nobody in particular can be identified except some members of the scroungy New Orleans-Dallas-Galveston demimonde. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "You can thank Oliver Stone’s sensationalized 1991 movie for the JFK document release," 21 Oct. 2017 In both cases, that means a larger brass section and a chance to really hear the sometimes tense dialogue between strings reflecting soaring romantic aspirations and the brassy, Runyonesque undertow of Nathan’s demimonde. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 'Guys and Dolls,' Milwaukee Rep evokes a bygone time and timeless love," 24 Sep. 2017 These people now have to exist in a demimonde of informal work, welfare, and other handouts such as SSDI, without the dignity and security of work. Pascal-emmanuel Gobry, National Review, "America’s New Normal Is France’s Old Normal," 14 Sep. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of demimonde

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for demimonde

French demi-monde, from demi- + monde world, from Latin mundus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about demimonde

Statistics for demimonde

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for demimonde

The first known use of demimonde was in 1855

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on demimonde

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with demimonde

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for demimonde

Comments on demimonde

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


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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